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World
17 May 2017

Mexican journalists protest over award-winning reporter Javier Valdez's murder

Journalists in Mexico took to the streets to protest the killing of award-winning reporter Javier Valdez, urging the government to take action.

Valdez, who spent his career investigating drug cartels, was shot dead on May 15, 2017, in Sinaloa state.

His murder is the latest in a wave of journalist killings in Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for reporters.

In context

Mexico - No country for journalists

Very dangerous

Mexico is world's most dangerous country for journalists

Valdez is the fifth journalist to be killed in Mexico over the past two months.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said 40 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992.

'Reporters Without Borders' said Mexico ranks third in the world, after Syria and Afghanistan, for the number of journalists killed.

The journalists are killed in retaliation for covering drug violence and Mexico's rampant corruption.

Profile

Who was Javier Valdez?

Valdez, 50, was a well-respected journalist who reported violence and organized crime in Sinaloa, one of Mexico's most drug violence-prone states.

His reporting earned him the International Press Freedom Award from the CPJ in 2011.

Last year, he received the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

He's written several books on the drug trade and narco-journalism.

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How was Valdez killed?

Valdez was driving around a block away from the office of Riodoce, a newspaper he founded, in Sinaloa state capital Culiacan when he was intercepted by gunmen. Mexican national newspaper La Jornada reported that Valdez was pulled out of his car and shot several times.

Valdez was worried about his safety

"Blacklist"

Valdez was worried about his safety

Valdez was well aware of the dangers of his job. During his book launch last year, Valdez had said: "Being a journalist is like being on a blacklist" and that gangs "will decide what day they are going to kill you."

The New York-based CPJ said Valdez had expressed concern over his safety to them just weeks before his murder.

Impunity

"They are killing us" say Mexico's protesting journalists

The BBC's Mundo's Juan Paullier said Valdez "wanted to tell the stories and dreams of the victims in a country where impunity is the norm."

Judith Calderón Gómez, who heads a journalists' group, said a mere 0.03% of all journalist killings led to prosecutions.

Journalists protesting Valdez's killing used the phrase "They are killing us" and "No to silence," words Valdez had used before.

Mexican president orders investigation

Gomez has called on the Mexican government to "give a real sign they are interested in guaranteeing journalism in the country." Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he's ordered an "investigation of this outrageous crime" and that his government is committed to press freedom.

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