Veteran crime reporter Javier Valdez killed in Mexico

Trevor Jackson
May 16, 2017

He was the fifth journalist (link in Spanish) to be killed in the country so far this year.

A state police source said her son, Jonathan Rodriguez Cordova, worked as a reporter at the family-run magazine, which publishes local news that includes some crime reporting. He said yes, he was a human being.

"Javier's murder is an attack on independent journalism not just in Sinaloa, but in Mexico as a whole", said CPJ's Mexico representative Jan-Albert Hootsen. So I asked him why he risked his life and he replied: 'It is something I like doing, and someone has to do it. The unusually high number of killings are seen as not specifically linked to each other but a reminder that impunity for such crimes remains endemic in Mexico, especially in areas dominated by drug cartels and weak or corrupt government.

Mexico is one of the most risky places to be a journalist, with the vast majority of attacks on the press unpunished.

The body of Valdez Cardenas was left lying in the street, near the office of the Riodoce weekly, a publication he founded and edited.

Over a almost 30-year career, Valdez became one of the most renowned journalists in Sinaloa.

The state is home to one of Mexico's most notorious drug cartels.

"Even though you may have bulletproofing and bodyguards, (the gangs) will decide what day they are going to kill you".

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

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His brother Rafael said Valdez had not indicated whether he had been working on any particular investigation lately.

Sinaloa has always been a drug trafficking hotbed and is home to the Sinaloa Cartel headed by notorious kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who is in a NY prison awaiting trial on multiple charges.

Valdez also contributed dispatches to the national daily La Jornada and published a book previous year about the dangers facing journalists who report honestly on the rampant crime and corruption gripping Mexico.

He was known for his smile and white Panama hat.

"The Committee to Protect Journalists honoured Javier Valdez Cárdenas with an International Press Freedom Award in 2011 to recognise his bravery and uncompromising journalism in the face of threats", said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

Mexican and foreign journalists paid homage to Valdez on social media, describing him as a courageous writer and generous friend whose killers must be brought to justice to deter future slayings.

He compiled much of his reporting into several books, the most recent of which, Narcoperiodismo, was published late previous year.

"But someone has to do it, right?"

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