Mexico: Journalist Javier Valdez shot dead in Sinaloa

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Mexico ranks third in the world for the number of journalists killed, after Syria and Afghanistan, according to media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

This year’s killings “are apparently unconnected occurrences but they are happening in a pre-electoral context and in an environment of tension in which there are groups that may want to create fear”, said Jose Reveles, a journalist and writer specializing in drug trafficking.

Valdez, a father of two, was at least the fifth journalist killed this year in Mexico, which free-press groups have named as one of the most risky countries for journalists. His courage was well-known-in 2011, the Committee to Protect Journalists gave him its International Press Freedom Award-and his impact was widespread.

Like Valdez, Breach had reported on organised crime, drug-trafficking and corruption.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Twitter that he had ordered an “investigation of this outrageous crime”.

“Living in Sinaloa is a threat, and being a journalist is an additional threat”, Valdez said in an interview with the CPJ, according the group’s website. In April the newspaper Norte in Chihuahua state announced it was shutting down in part for security reasons after the March 23 killing of Miroslava Breach, one of its contributors.

Violence – including killings of journalists – surged in Mexico after the government launched a military campaign against drug gangs a decade ago. “You have to assume the task that falls to you as a journalist – either that or you play dumb”.

The murder of renowned Mexican reporter Juan Valdez has sparked widespread outrage with protesters taking to the streets Tuesday to demand an end to the violence and impunity. “I don’t want to be asked, ‘What were you doing in the face of so much death. why didn’t you say what was going on?'”

“His door was always open”.

“But the state is not capable of investigating properly and that is an inducement for them to keep killing journalists”. “And in that sense, it’s a huge loss for everybody”.

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

Another journalist was slain in Mexico on Monday, a government official has confirmed.

A special federal prosecutor’s office tasked with crimes against freedom of expression said it had started the procedure for opening an inquiry and was sending a team to collect evidence.

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