Michelle Alexander, author of the bestseller The New Jim Crow, will speak on a plenary about the war on drugs, mass incarceration and criminal justice.
This award honors those in the media who have produced the highest quality of journalistic coverage of drug policy and other drug issues.
Javier Valdez Cárdenas was a Mexican journalist who received several international awards for his courageous writing on drug trafficking and organized crime in the Mexican Drug War. Valdez Cárdenas was the founder of Ríodoce, a weekly dedicated to covering crime and corruption in Sinaloa, considered one of Mexico's most violent states. He was also the author of several books on drug trafficking, including Miss Narco, Los morros del narco: Niños y jóvenes en el narcotráfico mexicano and Narcoperiodismo.
In 2011, Valdez Cárdenas was awarded the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists, “to recognise his bravery and uncompromising journalism in the face of threats". In his acceptance speech, he called Mexico's prohibition-related violence "a tragedy that should shame us". Later that year, Columbia University awarded Ríodoce the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for journalism that contributes to "inter-American understanding".
On May 15, 2017, Valdez Cárdenas was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen, blocks away from the Ríodoce offices in Culiacán. Mexico remains one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists.