Mexican journalists protest over award-winning reporter Javier Valdez's murder

Media rights groups and citizens protest to demand the Mexican government catch the killers of Javier Valdez the fifth and most high-profile journalist murdered this year in the country's drug-trafficking ganglands in front of the Interior Ministry

Mexican journalists protested this week against the violence facing those in their profession following the killing of drug trafficking and corruption reporter Javier Valdez Cárdenas.

His murder is the latest in a wave of journalist killings in Mexico, one of the most unsafe countries for reporters.

Also Wednesday, Sinaloa state Attorney General Juan Jose Rios said the circumstances of Valdez's killing point to him having been targeted because of his journalistic work.

The publication reported that Valdez was leaving the publication's office in broad daylight when the shooting occurred only a block away from the office.

Images in Mexican media showed a body lying in a street covered by a blue blanket and surrounded by 12 yellow markers of the kind typically used to flag evidence such as bullet casings.

President Enrique Peña Nieto took to Twitter to condemn what he said was an "outrageous crime". "I reiterate our commitment to freedom of expression and the press, which are fundamental to our democracy", he said. He also authored several books on the drug trade in Mexico.

He is the fifth journalist to be killed in Mexico this year. No one was hurt. Another 50 have been killed during the same time period for reasons not yet confirmed.

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Valdez received a number of national and global awards including the 2011 Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The recent spate of slayings includes Miroslava Breach, correspondent for La Jornada in the northern state of Chihuahua, who was gunned down in March.

"But the state is not capable of investigating properly and that is an inducement for them to keep killing journalists". Experts say that 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 Cardenas was last seen carrying his cell-phone and laptop, said fellow reporters, neither of which were found in his auto. Those who were there in person held images of Mr Valdez, while others stuck in their office worked below his projected image on a big screen. "His loss is a blow to Mexican journalism and to the Mexican public, who see a shadow of silence spreading across the country".

CGTN's Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City.

"They kill because they can kill". The CPJ reported that, in the weeks before his murder, Valdez told the CPJ that he was concerned for his safety. "That is the federal government's fault".

Numerous media and human rights organisations including Amnesty International have called for an impartial investigation.

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