Editorial Comment

Price of seeking truth too high

Seven years ago, he received the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and two days ago he was pulled from his car and shot 12 times in broad daylight.
Javier Valdez, a correspondent for La Jornada in Sinaloa, as well as founder and editor of the state weekly Riodoce, was the chief reporter of drug-trafficking and organized crime in Mexico.
“We do not just talk about drug trafficking, one of our most ferocious pursuits, we also talk about how the government is stalking us, how we live in a drug infiltration,” Valdez said in an interview last October.
Valdez began in journalism in the early 1990s in the television newscasts of Channel 3, Culiacán.
He joined the newspaper Noroeste and since 1998 has been a national correspondent for La Jornada. In that same year he was awarded the Sinaloa Prize of Journalism for his works in the cultural section.
Throughout his 18 years at La Jornada, he greatly influenced and developed the way journalists approach reporting in one of the most dangerous countries in the world for members of the media.
“The murder of Javier Valdez tells us that in Mexico the life of a journalist is completely worthless to those in power,” said Esteban Illades, editor of the Mexican magazine Nexos.
He is the sixth journalist in Mexico to be murdered this year.
This is yet another example of horrific violence targeting those who pursue the truth. If editors are being pulled out of their cars and shot and killed in broad daylight and no one is being held accountable, what faith can reporters have in the justice system?
No one should pay this price for getting too close to the truth, and no community should be left dismembered due to the deaths of those who serve it.
“We cohabit with death. We copulate with it, it laughs at us, it kisses us, it makes fun of us,” Valdez once said referring to his perilous beat.
And as Valdez was known to say by those around him, “when someone makes the decision to kill someone, they kill.”

This article was posted in the section Opinion.
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The Editorial Board comprises the editor-in-chief, opinion editor and two other editors. The staff editorial, composed weekly, reflects the majority opinion of the group. News editors and the business manager are never involved with the staff editorial.

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