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Journalist killed in Mexican state of Culiacan

17 May 2017

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

Mexican journalist Javier Valdez speaks at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2016.

The murder of renowned Mexican reporter Juan Valdez has sparked widespread outrage with protesters taking to the streets Tuesday to demand an end to the violence and impunity.

Rmodoce reported that Valdez was pulled from his Toyota Camry in broad daylight and shot 12 times in an attack made to look like a carjacking. "We have no doubt: those who ordered the crime asked the hit men to ensure the target", stated Riodoce.

Like Breach, Valdez dug deep into delicate matters including narco-trafficking and political corruption.

News of his slaying shook Mexico's journalism community, already alarmed by a spike in attacks against the media this year. The country has become one of the deadliest in the world for those who work in the media.

Valdez won the Committee to Protect Journalists' global press freedom award in 2011. An additional 50 were slain during the same period under circumstances that have not been clarified.

He wrote about the Sinaloa drug cartel and its founder Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Experts say Guzman's arrest previous year and extradition in January have led to upheaval in the area as rival factions war for control of the gang.

Valdez was aware of the dangers of reporting on the drug trade.

Valdez's murder comes just weeks after cartel gunmen murdered respected journalist Maximino Rodriguez Palacios in Baja California Sur as he drove with his wife to a shopping center, Breitbart Texas reported.

"In Mexico, journalists are killed because they can be, because nothing happens", read the text Tuesday on the home page of Animal Politico, one of Mexico's most influential online news publications.

In March, when a gunman killed Miroslava Breach, a journalist in the northern state of Chihuahua, Valdez sent out a defiant message on Twitter.

Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto said Monday afternoon that he has directed the federal police to help local authorities investigate "this outrageous crime".

"I reiterate our commitment to freedom of expression and the press, fundamental for our democracy", he tweeted. The state government recently proposed an agreement with the media to minimize news on crimes and killings to protect the image of its main tourist attraction, Acapulco.

"Today and every day we stand with our journalists across the border".

Press rights group Articulo 19 said that was the first time Pena Nieto had reacted publicly to one of the recent wave of journalists' killings - a sign of rising pressure on the president. Last year, 11 journalists were killed there overall.

The murder comes eight years after unidentified attackers threw a grenade into the Riodoce offices after the paper published a drug trafficking investigation.