Journalist killed in Mexican state of Culiacan

Mexican journalist Javier Valdez speaks at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara Mexico in 2016. He was killed by a gunman on Monday

Javier Valdez, an award-winning reporter who specialised in covering drug trafficking and organised crime, was murdered in the northern Mexico state of Sinaloa, the latest in a wave of journalist killings in one of the world's most unsafe countries for media workers.

Valdez was shot to death in the early afternoon in the state capital of Culiacan, near the offices of the publication he co-founded, Riodoce. He reported for the Mexican newspaper La Jornada (Spanish.) He was also a valuable source for worldwide reporters trying to piece together the debacle that is Mexico today. According to CNN, Valdez was a well-respected journalist in Sinaloa and published several books on drug trafficking, crime, and its effects on communities.

He is the fifth journalist to be killed in Mexico this year.

Violence - including killings of journalists - surged in Mexico after the government launched a military campaign against drug gangs a decade ago.

CITY — Javier Valdez was driving in broad daylight down a street he must have known well, just a block from his office, when he became the latest victim of a wave of journalist killings that has hit Mexico.

Valdez worked in the Mexican state of Sinaloa for outlets like AFP and La Jornada.

Valdez's brother Rafael said the reporter had been "very happy" in recent days and had not indicated that he had received threats.

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The cartel is believed to be responsible for an estimated 25% of all illegal drugs that enter the United States via Mexico.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto condemned the slaying in a tweet, and expressed condolences to Cárdenas' family. The former is a look at the relationship between journalism and organized crime, and the latter chronicles the lives of young people swept up in Mexico's criminal underworld.

He wrote about the Sinaloa drug cartel and its founder Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

"It is part of the investigation we will be carrying out", he told the press after arriving at the scene of the crime.

"Living in Sinaloa is a threat, and being a journalist is an additional threat", said Mr Valdez, when asked in 2011 about his work.

At the time, the CPJ said 38 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992. "This lack of accountability perpetuates a climate of impunity that leaves journalists open to attack".

Last Wednesday, the federal Attorney General's Office replaced the head of its division responsible for investigating journalist killings.

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