Award-winning reporter shot dead in Mexico

Mexico City: Authorities in Mexico searched on Tuesday for gunmen who fatally shot an award-winning journalist and Agence France-Presse contributor who reported on the country’s violent drug gangs.
Javier Valdez, 50, was shot in the street on Monday near the premises of Riodoce, a Mexican news weekly he founded in his hometown of Culiacan in northwestern Sinaloa state, sources said.
Valdez was the fifth journalist killed this year in a country plagued by drug violence and corruption, according to officials and media rights groups.
“We are horrified by this tragedy and send our condolences to Javier’s family and those close to him,” said AFP’s global news director Michele Leridon. “We call on the Mexican authorities to shed all possible light on this cowardly murder,” she added.
“Javier showed extreme courage by spending years investigating the powerful drug cartels in Mexico, knowing that he was risking his life in doing so.”
President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Twitter that he had ordered an “investigation of this outrageous crime.” Protests were taking place to remember Valdez and to call for an end to the bloodshed.
Valdez’s brother Rafael said the reporter had been “very happy” in recent days and had not indicated that he had received threats.
A court source said forensic investigators were analysing the crime scene. 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).
The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) this month said “Mexico’s press is caught in a deadly cycle of violence and impunity.” — AFP