Journalist Javier Valdez shot to death in Mexico drug state

Reporters without Borders now ranks Mexico as the most risky country in the world for journalists, with nine media professionals murdered in 2016 alone.

Journalist Javier Valdez was shot and killed when an unknown number of assailants opened fire on his auto, according to the website of online media outlet RioDoce, which he helped found and where he continued to work. The official was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Mr Valdez was interviewed by Fox News last month, when Miroslava Breach became the 30th journalist murdered in the country since 2012.

In addition to Rio Doce, Valdez also worked as a reporter for the newspaper La Jornada.

According to reports, the journalist specialized in covering the drug trafficking was driving at 12 p.m. along the Vicente Riva Palacio street when a gunman stopped him, forced him to get out of his vehicle and shot him dead.

He was the fifth journalist (link in Spanish) to be killed in the country so far this year. President Enrique Pena Nieto condemned what he called an "outrageous crime".

Valdez was a nationally and internationally recognized journalist who authored several books on the drug trade, including "Narcoperiodismo" and "Los Morros del Narco". Riodoce said Valdez's laptop and cellphone were missing. The latter chronicled the lives of young people swept up in Mexico's underworld. "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?'"

According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, Valdez had told them he was concerned for his safety just weeks before his murder.




In a report this month, CPJ noted that most killings of journalists go unpunished in Mexico.

By the group's count, some 40 journalists have been killed in Mexico for reasons confirmed as related to their work since 1992.

Valdez belonged to a rare breed of Mexican reporters who refuse to be silenced through bribes or threats of violence.

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

"The reporters were in the region covering a security operation".

The cartel is believed to be responsible for an estimated 25% of all illegal drugs that enter the U.S. via Mexico.

"The system seems to be corrupt down to its very foundation; either that or it's simply incapable of achieving justice".

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