May 15 (UPI) — Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas, renowned for dogged reporting on drug trafficking and corruption, was gunned down Monday in Sinaloa, officials said. He is the fifth journalist to be killed in Mexico this year.
Valdez, 50, reportedly was pulled from his car by a gunman and shot multiple times near his newspaper office in Sinaloa, which is notorious in Mexico’s drug world. Riodoce, the weekly publication Valdez founded, reported his death.
Speaking at the crime scene, Sinaloa state Prosecutor Juan José Ríos Estavillo vowed to provide more protection for journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 40 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992.
Valdez received the CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award in 2011 for his reporting on organized crime and corruption in the face of repeated death threats. “To die,” he said in an interview with CPJ, “would be to stop writing.”
Valdez was remembered as a “brave and beloved” Mexican journalist.
Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto called the killing an “outrageous crime” and expressed his condolences to Valdez’s family and friends. “I reiterate our commitment to freedom of expression and the press, which are fundamental to our democracy,” Nieto said on Twitter.
Valdez also was a correspondent for the national newspaper La Jornada and worked with the news agency AFP.
“We lament this tragedy and send all condolences to Javier’s family and those close to him,” Michèle Léridon, AFP’s Global news director, said in a statement. “We call on the Mexican authorities to shed all possible light on this cowardly murder.”