Javier Valdez, an award-winning reporter who specialised in covering drug trafficking and organised crime, was murdered in the northern Mexico state of Sinaloa, the latest in a wave of journalist killings in one of the world's most unsafe countries for media workers.
Valdez also contributed dispatches to the national daily La Jornada and past year published a book about the dangers facing journalists who report honestly on the rampant crime and corruption gripping Mexico.
In addition to Rio Doce, Valdez also worked as a reporter for the newspaper La Jornada.
Valdez won the Committee to Protect Journalists' global press freedom award in 2011.
He is the fifth journalist killed in Mexico in the last two months, The Associated Press reports.
Authorities in Mexico searched Tuesday for gunmen who fatally shot an award-winning journalist and Agence France-Presse contributor who reported on the country's violent drug gangs.
Valdez was also an essential source for Mexican journalists and foreign correspondents traveling to Sinaloa to write about the drug violence.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and the USA ambassador to Mexico condemned Valdez's killing.
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CPJ says that 40 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992 in attacks directly related to their work.
"One of your contacts [for example], someone who used to be be sympathetic to your work, gets damaged by one of your stories and he withdraws", Valdez said to La Jornada recently. No one was hurt.
We reiterate our commitment to the freedom of the press and the protection of journalists throughout the world.
The CPJ's Mexico representative Jan-Albert Hootsen said Valdez's killing was "an attack on journalism, all journalists throughout Mexico".
Press rights group Articulo 19 said that was the first time Pena Nieto had reacted publicly to one of the recent wave of journalists' killings - a sign of rising pressure on the president.
"Living in Sinaloa is a threat, and being a journalist is an additional threat", he told CPJ, according the group's website. "I don't want to be asked, 'What were you doing in the face of so much death. why didn't you say what was going on?'"
In the case of Valdez, "his loss is a blow to Mexican journalism and to the Mexican public, who see a shadow of silence spreading across the country", said Joel Simon, the CPJ's executive director, in a statement. It added that even when there are convictions, they are often limited to the immediate killer and do not clarify the motive.
Mexico's attorney general's office said Monday an investigation has been opened into Valdez's murder.