Knight Center
Knight Center

JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

International press and journalists make calls for justice in the case of murdered Mexican journalist Javier Valdez



As many journalists have noted, the May 15 murder of Mexican journalist Javier Valdez was different from killings of other journalists in that country.

Javier Garza Ramos, former deputy editor at El Siglo de Torreón in Coahuila, wrote in El País that the murder “shook the Mexican press like no other crime involving violence against journalists in the previous decade. Javier’s high profile and national and international recognition for his work on organized crime made this case an exceptional one.”

The national, but also international, calls for an end to the pervasive problem of lethal violence against journalists in Mexico has been unprecedented.

More than a week after the murder, indignation from colleagues, friends and admirers from around the world continues to pour in. It’s happening not only on social media, but in the streets, through circulated petitions and on international editorial pages.

Media outlets and organizations from Mexico and abroad started a “collective discussion to build an agenda with short- and medium-term objectives to protect journalists, journalism and the right to information in a democracy.”

“The media and organizations convened believe that the murder of Javier Valdez cannot go unpunished, it must also strengthen the solidarity of the guild and ignite our ability to work together,” their note read.

A note is circulating online in which 186 journalists from 69 foreign media outlets condemn Valdez’s murder.

“We believe that effective access to the Judiciary is fundamental to curb aggression and guarantee the exercise of journalism in conditions of security and freedom,” the note reads. “A real and determined commitment against impunity and for the protection of journalists is indispensable to convert the murder of Javier Valdez into a watershed that puts an end to attacks against the press, a fundamental bulwark of any democracy.”

Journalists have also called on their heads of state to intervene in the situation.

For example, journalists in Peru wrote a letter to President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, asking him to propose that the Organization of American States (OAS) create a commission to investigate Valdez's murder and impunity in journalist's murders in Mexico.

Nineteen organizations and hundreds of journalists from Argentina not only called on Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to accept an international team from the CIDH and UN to investigate violence against the press, but also urged Argentine President Mauricio Macri to speak about the ongoing "humanitarian tragedy" in Mexico.

Below, the Knight Center gathered links and excerpts to editorials and commentaries on Valdez’s murder that were penned by journalists and human rights defenders for international publications. They include condemnations of the violence and calls to action, like the letters mentioned above.

Many of the authors shared dinners or long conversations with Valdez and saw his work ethic and impact first-hand. They benefited from his advice on covering the drug war in Mexico and for staying safe. Others provided aid when his life was in danger. All understand what will happen to Mexico as a country, and Mexican journalism, if this violence against journalists continues.



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