Mexico president vows to protect journalists

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In Mexico City, journalists marched with signs and chanted the phrases, "They are killing us" and "No to silence".

According to Reporters Without Borders, Mexico became in 2016 the third country in the world with the highest rate of journalists killings - with Syria and Afghanistan ranked ahead with 11 killings reported in 2016.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto promised yesterday to better protect journalists after the killing of a renowned reporter who wrote about drug gangs sparked global outrage.

On Monday, respected drug war chronicler Javier Valdez was killed when assailants opened fire on his vehicle in the Sinaloa state capital, Culiacan.

President Enrique Pena Nieto did not take questions at a Wednesday event called "actions for freedom of expression and protection of journalists and defenders".

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The president sketched out three measures, but without details.

By the group's count, some 40 journalists have been killed in Mexico for reasons confirmed as related to their work since 1992.

"Rapid and transparent investigations are necessary to bring the perpetrators of all these crimes to justice", the European Union said in a statement that demanded Mexico see the "end of impunity in cases of crimes against journalists and activists".

Pena Nieto also called generally for better coordination between federal and state authorities.

While slayings of journalists draw attention, they are not an aberration in a country with steadily deteriorating security.

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Valdez Cardenas was one of the founders of Riodoce, a local publication in Sinaloa, as well as a contributor for the national newspaper, La Jornada.

One of them, Alejandro Paez Varela, content director for the online outlet SinEmbargo.mx, said Valdez's murder - in broad daylight and just a block from Riodoce's office - was a demonstration of impunity.

"Javier Baldez, one of the journalists and writers who covered with professionalism the terms off narcotrafficking in Sinaloa was killed; the bullet that he knew followed reached him", members of the Network of Veracruzan Journalists said during the protests on Tuesday.

"The Mexican Government must do more to protect journalists and prosecute those criminals who kill journalists for doing their jobs", stated Benavides.

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