Mexico journalist murdered, fourth of 2018

Mexican journalist Javier Valdez was gunned down in broad daylight near his newspaper's offices on May 15, 2017

A Mexican journalist was murdered Tuesday in the southern state of Tabasco, the governor said, as the country mourned acclaimed reporter and writer Javier Valdez on the first anniversary of his killing.

Juan Carlos Huerta was shot dead as he left his home in a suburb of the city of Villahermosa, said the state government.

He is at least the fourth reporter killed this year in what has become one of the world's most dangerous countries for the press, according to activists.

"I deeply regret this latest crime," said Tabasco governor Arturo Nunez.

"Juan Carlos was a top journalist ... you could also say a friend."

Police have blocked all roads out of the city and are searching for a vehicle apparently used in the attack, Nunez told journalists.

"It was not a robbery. They came to execute him," he said.

Huerta was a 45-year-old radio and television journalist with a wife and two children, according to Mexican media reports.

Since 2000, more than 100 journalists have been murdered in Mexico, where asking questions about government corruption or powerful drug cartels can mean risking one's life.

Last year there were at least 11 victims, making it the deadliest country in the world for the press after Syria, according to watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.

Valdez, an internationally recognized journalist and author of several books, was shot dead on May 15, 2017 near the offices of the newspaper he co-founded, Riodoce, in the violent northwestern state of Sinaloa.

He was one of the most prominent chroniclers of Mexico's deadly drug war in a state where Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, now imprisoned in the United States, once reigned.

Protesters are marking the anniversary of Valdez's death with a series of marches around the country, calling on the authorities to punish those responsible and stop the wave of violence.

Mexican journalist Javier Valdez, in a photo taken on November 27, 2016, was a chronicler of Mexico's drug war before his murder in 2017