MEXICO CITY - A succession of violent attacks against journalists in the west of Mexico claimed the lives of two people, while a third person remained hospitalized in a serious condition on Tuesday.
Just hours after award-winning reporter Javier Valdez was gunned down and killed in the western city of Culiacán on Monday, aspiring journalist Jonathan Rodríguez, 26, lost his life in a separate assault that seriously injured his mother, Sonia Córdova, the deputy director of the local El Costeño newspaper in the region of Jalisco.
The Attorney General's office in Jalisco later reported that Córdova is married to the owner of the El Costeño publication, which is based in the city of Autlán.
Córdova and Rodríguez came under fire in broad daylight whilst driving down one of Autlán's main roads.
Meanwhile, Valdez, 50, was shot by assailants in a passing vehicle as he walked near the offices of Riodoce, a weekly news outlet he founded in Culiacán, Sinaloa state.
Following the assassination of Valdez, Riodoce published an article entitled: "Today they hit us at the heart."
The outlet said the assailants simulated a robbery, before shooting Valdez twelve times with several firearms.
Investigators are to look into the possibility that Valdez's killing was connected to his work as a reporter, state Attorney General Juan Jose Rios Estavillo told media.
He rose to prominence covering drug trafficking and drug-related violence in Mexico, for which he was awarded the International Press Freedom Award in 2011 by the United States-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
In an interview with EFE in Oct. marking the publication of his book "Narcoperiodismo," Valdez said that "valiant" and worthwhile journalism was becoming ever rarer in Mexico as organized crime and corrupt officials moved to silence independent voices with bullets or bribes.
Mexico's National Human Rights Commission condemned both attacks and called on authorities to launch an immediate and effective investigation into the events.
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists to work.
A total of 126 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000.
On Apr. 29, Filiberto Alvarez Landeros was murdered in Tlaquiltenango, a city in the central state of Morelos, as he was heading home after wrapping up his radio show.
In Mar., Cecilio Pineda was murdered in the southern state of Guerrero; Ricardo Monlui was killed in the northwestern state of Sinaloa; Miroslava Breach was killed in the northern state of Chihuahua and Maximo Rodriguez was killed in the northwestern state of Baja California Sur.