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Mexican journalists protest murders, impunity

June 16, 2017

Journalists have marched across Mexico to call for an end to impunity for people who kill reporters. The family of Javier Valdez, who was murdered in May, led Thursday's protests in his home state of Sinaloa.

Mexiko Demonstration gegen Journalistenmorde
Image: Reuters/E. Garrido

Journalists took to the streets across Mexico late Thursday to call for justice and an end to impunity for people who kill, torture or disappear reporters. The protests took place one month to the day since the murder of Javier Valdez, whom gangsters shot a dozen times in broad daylight outside the offices of "Riodoce," the newspaper he co-founded in the western state of Sinaloa.

More than 1,000 people - colleagues, readers, members of civil society groups - turned out in the state to mourn Valdez. "The people are tired of so much damn corruption," they chanted.

In Culiacan, Valdez's widow, Griselda Triana, voiced outrage at the authorities' "incompetence": "The few times they've approached me to tell me about their progress on the case, the truth is that you can tell they're useless."

"I'm afraid, more for my children than myself, because they're in a very vulnerable situation now and you realize that in reality there is no government, no authority here," she said.

@dwnews - Mexican journalists mourn murdered colleague Javier Valdez

'Enough bloodshed'

Prosecutors initially investigated the murder of Valdez, who won the Committee for the Protection of Journalists' 2011 International Press Freedom Award, as an auto robbery before acknowledging that the killers had more likely targeted him for his reporting. The outcry forced President Enrique Pena Nieto to finally address such killings. One month on, Valdez's colleagues say the president has reneged on his promises to fight impunity in a country where more than 90 percent of such cases remain unresolved.

On Thursday, the Proceso magazine journalist Alvaro Delgado reminded Pena Nieto to his face as the president spoke to media executives about his commitment to a free press. "Enough bloodshed," read the banner Delgado held. "Fix it, president. Not One More."

In Mexico City, a group of journalists marched on the attorney general's office, bearing photographs of murdered reporters and reading their names; "the state is dead" was written on a modified Mexican flag. A similar scene played out in Tijuana, the largest city on the western peninsula of Baja California, where dozens of mediamakers demanded that regional law enforcement authorities "stop the murders of journalists." Other protests took place in the southern state of Guerrero and Michoacan, in the east.

Mexican journalists in the crosshairs

Reporters Without Borders ranks Mexico - where more than 100 reporters have been killed since 2000 while reporting on drug cartels or official corruption, including seven this year - as the world's third-deadliest country for journalists. The two ahead of it, Syria and Afghanistan, are mired in war in many regions.

mkg/se (EFE, AFP, dpa)