Mexican journalist wins press freedom award for covering drug trafficking, organized crime

For suffering through attacks and threats for covering drug trafficking and organized crime, Mexican journalist Javier Arturo Valdez Cárdenas was named one of the winners of the Committee to Protect Journalists' 2011 International Press Freedom Awards.

Other 2011 Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) awardees include Mansoor al-Jamri of Al-Wasat in Bahrain, Natalya Radina of Charter 97 in Belarus, and Umar Cheema of The News in Pakistan.

"We are proud to honor these journalists, whose tenacious reporting continues in defiance of severe censorship tactics meant to silence inconvenient truths," said CPJ executive director Joel Simon, according to journalism.co.uk. "By resisting threats and abuse, these journalists give voice to daily realities in their countries and secure our universal right to receive independent, reliable information."

Valdez, who founded the weekly newspaper Ríodoce in Sinaloa, Mexico -- one of the country's most violent states -- told CPJ that "living in Sinaloa is a threat, and being a journalist is an additional threat. We learned how to live in times when bullets are flying around us." For example, in 2009 unidentified attackers threw a grenade at the newspaper's building, reported El Universal.

Riodoce also was just named one of the winners of the prestigious 2011 Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for outstanding reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean.

The winners of the International Press Freedom awards will be honored at CPJ's annual awards ceremony on Nov. 22 in New York City.

CPJ also will honor renowned U.S. television anchor and reporter Dan Rather by awarding him the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in defending press freedom.