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Mexican journalist shot dead in Sinaloa state

These incidences of violence - with seven murders of journalists since the beginning of the year and fifteen in 2016 - make Mexico one of the most risky countries in the world for media workers.

He was walking near the Rio Doce offices in the state capital, Culiacan, when he was killed by a group of people riding in a red auto, according to multiple Mexican news outlets. The official was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, the Associated Press news agency reported.

"How long will there be killings without pity and with impunity?" said Valdez's own weekly publication, Riodoce.

Valdez was "an essential source" for journalists who also wanted to report on the drug violence that had been plaguing Sinaloa, the Los Angeles Times noted.

During his career spanning almost three decades, Valdez wrote extensively on drug-trafficking and organized crime in Mexico, including the powerful Sinaloa cartel. 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.

"This crime is yet another stark reminder of the risky conditions in which all too many courageous journalists exercise their profession", said Irina Bokova the Director-General of the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a statement condemning the murder. "You have to fight to change things'".

More news: China's Xi appeals to foreign leaders for freer trade

"We do not see the violence against journalists stopping", said Balbina Flores, a representative of RSF in Mexico.

"Being a journalist is like being on a black list", he wrote in a recent book about drug gangs and the media.

"We come once again and as many times as necessary to harshly demand that authorities carry out their duty of protecting citizens from criminals and punish criminals according to the Rule of Law", a prepared statement from the network revealed. In 2011, he received an worldwide prize for press freedom from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

His last contribution to AFP was 11 days ago, about the extradition to the United States of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, former head of the notorious Sinaloa cartel.

In a report released this month, the group noted that most killings of journalists go unpunished in Mexico.

In a previous interview with NBC News, the slain journalist was asked why he didn't seek asylum in the U.S. Valdez responded that "someone has to tell the world what's happening in my country". Ricardo Sanchez Perez del Pozo, a lawyer with a background in worldwide law and human rights, took over the post.

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