Award-winning journalist Javier Valdez murdered in Mexico

Katrina Barker
May 17, 2017

Well-known journalist Javier Valdez, who specialized in reporting on drug trafficking and organized crime, has been killed in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

On Monday (15 May) gunmen opened fire on the auto of Javier Valdez Cardenas, 50, a correspondent for the newspaper La Jornada in his home town of Culiacan. The official was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Rio Doce confirmed the news of Valdez's killing on its webpage.

Valdez, also a correspondent for the national newspaper La Jornada, was an internationally recognized journalist who authored several books on the drug trade.

One of the most renowned journalists in the state, Valdez had written about the Sinaloa drug cartel and its founder Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Valdez is at least the sixth journalist to be killed in the last two months in Mexico.

The CPJ's Mexico representative Jan-Albert Hootsen said Valdez's killing was "an attack on journalism, all journalists throughout Mexico".

Mexican journalist Javier Valdez speaks at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2016.

But if Valdez's case is anything like that of the many other reporters who have been murdered in Mexico recently, there's a good chance his killers will never be punished.

President Enrique Pena Nieto condemned what he called an "outrageous crime".

A spokesman for a Mexican human rights organization, CNDH, tells La Jornada the killing "affects freedom of expression, and the very heart of Mexican democracy".

In this photo released by Riodoce, journalist Javier Valdez poses for a photo an unknown location in Mexico. No one was hurt. An additional 50 were slain during the same period under circumstances that have not been clarified. So I asked him why he risked his life and he replied: 'It is something I like doing, and someone has to do it.

"This isn't just us being killed as people, this is a silencing of those who talk", freelance journalist Paula Monaco said at the protest.

"When journalists cover subjects linked to organized crime or political corruption (especially at the local level), they immediately become targets and are often executed in cold blood", RSF said in a recent report.

"By not establishing a clear link to journalism or providing any motives for the killings most investigations remain opaque", the report said.

Last Wednesday, the federal Attorney General's Office replaced the head of its division responsible for investigating journalist killings.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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