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Mexico reporters mourn brave murdered mentor

19 May 2017

Investigative journalists Lydia Cacho and Diego Enrique Osorno made their remarks at a conference in this capital whose initial objective was to present a book on widespread impunity in the Aztec nation, "La ira de Mexico" (Mexico's Ire), but which turned into an urgent call to safeguard freedom of the press following the fatal shooting of award-winning journalist Javier Valdez on Monday.

Valdez, who spent his career investigating drug cartels, was shot dead on May 15, 2017, in Sinaloa state.

Valdez's murder is the latest in a string of killings of journalists in Mexico.

But the killing fanned a wave of anger at the authorities, with rights groups saying corrupt officials are preventing journalists' killers from being punished.

"How long will there be killings without pity and with impunity?" said Valdez's own weekly publication, Riodoce. Valdez was also a correspondent for the national newspaper La Jornada, which reported that he was pulled from his auto and shot multiple times.

Journalists' unions said they planned demonstrations in homage to Valdez, including one outside government headquarters in Mexico City and one in his home town of Culiacan, where he was shot.

A state police source said her son, Jonathan Rodriguez Cordova, worked as a reporter at the family-run magazine, which publishes local news that includes some crime reporting, Reuters news agency said.

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At least 40 journalists have been murdered in Mexico for reasons linked to their jobs in the last 25 years, while 50 others were killed under unclear circumstances, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Past measures have been ineffective in stopping bloodshed among the country's media workers.

Valdez Cardenas was last seen carrying his cell-phone and laptop, said fellow reporters, neither of which were found in his auto.

In Mexico City, journalists gathered in front of the Ministry of Interior with candles and pictures of Valdez.

Some media in Sinaloa canceled their Tuesday editions in protest.

Shouts of "justice" echoed from the press corps Wednesday moments after Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto called for a moment of silence for journalists who have been murdered at a frightening pace.

Numerous media and human rights organizations including Amnesty International called for an impartial investigation. It added that even when there are convictions, they are often limited to the immediate killer and do not clarify the motive.

Of those cases, 99.7 percent remain unsolved, meaning the culprits have gone unpunished, it says.

Mexico reporters mourn brave murdered mentor