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May 16, 2017
Sixth Mexican journalist murdered in 2017
Slain journalist Javier Valdez (Courtesy photo)
Another Mexican Journalist Gunned Down
This year is proving to be one of the worst years in memory for Mexican
On Monday, May 15, Javier Valdez Cardenas became the sixth
journalist murdered in the country since the beginning of the year.
state correspondent for the national La Jornada daily, Valdez was shot to death
in the state capital of Culiacan, a city widely regarded as a stronghold of
organized crime groups. No immediate arrests in the homicide were announced by
Valdez was the second state correspondent for La Jornada murdered this
year. Miroslava Breach, the longtime Chihuahua correspondent for La Jornada,
was fatally shot by a gunman outside her Chihuahua City home last March 23
while she prepared to take her son to school.
Despite state government
statements that the authors of the crime have been identified, no one has been
arrested and charged in the case.
Ironically, on the same day Javier Valdez was slain, another demonstration
demanding justice for Breach was held in Chihuahua City.
Like Breach, Valdez dug deep into delicate matters including
narco-trafficking and political corruption.
An award-winning journalist, the 50-year-old Valdez was the author of a
recent book entitled "Narcojournalism," and a founder of Riodoce
magazine, a publication known for its investigative reports on organized
crime. According to a news report in La
Jornada, Valdez had just left the premises of Riodoce when he was attacked.
Valdez's murder came as the Mexican press was reeling from the Saturday,
May 13 attack on a group of seven Mexican and foreign reporters on a work
mission in a violence-torn region of the southern state of Guerrero.
incident, the journalists were reportedly stopped at a roadblock by a group of
one hundred armed individuals near the town of Acapetlahuaya, stripped of
computers and news reporting equipment and wallets, relieved of a truck, and
threatened with death. According to some Mexican news reports, the attack
occurred close to two army checkpoints.
Acapetlahuaya is situated in an opium and marijuana production zone that is
violently contested by rival narco groups, as well as not far from an area
where an armed civilian self-defense movement claiming to be independent of the
drug traffickers is active.
Guerrero state officials suspected the attack on
the journalists was carried out by one of the competing drug-trafficking groups, La
The journalists who were the object of last Saturday's aggression included:
Sergio Ocampo, Guerrero La Jornada correspondent; Jair Cabrera, La Jornada contributor; Hans Maximo Musielik, Vice News;
Pablo Perez Garcia, Hispano Post; Jorge Martinez, Quadtrain; Angel Galeana,
Imagen TV; and Alejandro Ortiz, Bajo Palabra daily.
Javier Valdez's murder was sharply condemned by Mexican leaders,
journalists and human rights advocates. President Enrique PeñaNieto ordered
the special federal investigative unit for crimes against journalists to assist
Sinaloa state authorities.
Quoted in La Jornada, Amnesty International Mexico
declared that "to be a journalist in Mexico seems more like a death
sentence than a profession."
Tania Reneaum, director of Amnesty International Mexico, urged independent
investigations into the murders of Javier Valdez and other journalists.
Journalist-author Kent Paterson is an expert on U.S.-Mexico relations,
Mexican politics and is former editor of Frontera NorteSur.