A Mexican journalist in the state of Sinaloa was murdered Monday afternoon, the latest in a sustained attack on reporters in that country this year.
Javier Valdez was a respected crime reporter and author. His beat: organized crime in what’s considered a seat of cartel power in Mexico, Culiacán, Sinaloa. He wrote a column about those cartels for the aggressive weekly newspaper called Rio Doce.
Valdez worked under a persistent level of threat. In 2011, he was awarded a Press Freedom Award by the New York based Committtee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
"It’s not just him that was hit. It’s not just the personal tragedy of javier being killed. It’s the tragedy of Rio Doce and independent journalism being hit by this murder," said CPJ’s Jan Albert Hootsen.
He saw Valdez two weeks before.
"He was very cheerful at that point. He said the situation was complicated in Sinaloa but he himself was doing well. I do know that Rio Doce's been under a lot of pressure reecently. Because when the security situation gets worse in Sinaloa, it automatically as a parallel increases the pressure on independent media like Rio Doce."
Valdez is only the latest journalist killed in Mexico this year. When Miroslava Breach, a Chihuahua reporter was killed earlier this spring, he tweeted: "Let them kill us all if that is the death sentence for reporting on this hell. No to silence."