New York, July 11, 2013--The body of Honduran radio journalist Aníbal Barrow was found on Tuesday on the riverbank of a lagoon near the city of San Pedro Sula, according to news reports. Barrow had been kidnapped from his car on June 24, the reports said.
"We are saddened by the death of journalist Aníbal Barrow and send our condolences to his friends, family, and colleagues," said CPJ Senior Program Coordinator for the Americas Carlos Lauría. "Lethal violence against the press and the endless cycle of impunity is compromising democracy in Honduras. Local authorities must thoroughly investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice."
Roberto Ramírez, the country's chief prosecutor, said on Wednesday that authorities had identified the dismembered and burned body as Barrow's using forensic tests.
National police chief Juan Carlos Bonilla said four people had been detained in the killing and that several other suspects had been identified, according to press reports. Ramirez said he would not discuss possible motives because the investigation was still ongoing.
News accounts reported that Barrow's car was intercepted on June 24 by unidentified gunmen in San Pedro Sula. Barrow, the prominent host of a morning talk show on Globo TV called "Aníbal and Nothing More," was traveling with his daughter-in-law, grandson, and driver. The gunmen took control of the car and subsequently freed all of the passengers except Barrow.
Several hours later, police found the car abandoned in another part of town, with a bullet hole in one door and blood inside, a Globo representative told CPJ. The family did not receive any calls seeking a ransom, according to news reports.
Radio Globo, which is affiliated with Globo TV, has been the target of serious attacks and multiple broadcasting disruptions after reporting critically on the aftermath of the 2009 ouster of President Manuel Zelaya. Local journalists told CPJ that Barrow's program was mostly a commentary show and that he touched on current events, including crime and politics, but didn't do in-depth investigations.
A climate of violence and widespread impunity has made Honduras one of the most dangerous countries in the region, according to CPJ research. In May, two journalists were attacked by gunmen in the northern town of La Ceiba.
- For more data and analysis, visit CPJ's Honduras page.