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Published On: Tue, May 16th, 2017

Award-winning crime reporter Javier Valdez killed in Mexico

nsnbc : The award-winning reporter Javier Valdez who specialized in covering drug trafficking and organized crime, was killed Monday when unidentified attackers opened fire on his car in the city of Culiacan where he was working.

Javier Valdez_Culican_Mexico_May 2017The 50-year-old Javier Valdez received the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in 2011 for his coverage of drug trafficking. He was a correspondent for a national newspaper, La Jornada, and as well as the co-founder of the Riodoce publication. Valdez also authored several books on narcotics trafficking and organized crime.

Valdez’ untimely death is a stark reminder of the risks of investigative journalism in Mexico as well as globally. He is at least the sixth journalist to be murdered in Mexico since early March 2017. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto denounced the murder as an “outrageous crime” and used his Twitter account to say “I reiterate our commitment to freedom of expression and the press, fundamental for our democracy.”

Javier Valdez (archives)

Javier Valdez (archives)

However, President Nieto’s statement didn’t suggest that the death of Valdez could have inspired him to revise the policies of the, according to most analysts and experts, failed Mexican version of the war on dugs that turned ten years old last year.

Most of the journalists who are targeted in Mexico are reporters who are working in places where the rule of law is tenuous. However, there have also been killings of nationally and internationally renown journalists such as Valdez, or Regina Martina Perez, who was murdered in 2012. Among the most recent victims is Miroslava Breach, correspondent for La Jornada in the northern state of Chihuahua, who was gunned down in March.

On Saturday, seven journalists were assaulted and robbed by a mob of about 100 armed men on a highway in the troubled southern state of Guerrero. Sinaloa has long been a hotbed for drug-trafficking. It is also the stronghold of the Sinaloa Cartel headed by notorious kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is in a New York prison awaiting trial on multiple charges.

A/N & CH/L – nsnbc 16.05.2017

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