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Honduras

Key Developments

» Journalists targeted amid a general climate of rampant violence.

» Murders go unsolved and motives remain unclear.

The Honduran press continued to face violence and intimidation as the country struggled with pervasive crime and general lawlessness. Journalists who covered sensitive topics like drug trafficking, government corruption, and land conflicts were threatened and attacked. A prominent radio talk show host, Aníbal Barrow, was abducted from his car and found murdered weeks later. Authorities said they were investigating to determine if the killing was related to the journalist's work. But the climate of impunity persisted in Honduras, with allegations of law enforcement engaging in corruption and forming police death squads. Allegations also surfaced that journalists engaged in extortion. A standoff between the country's main media companies and President Porfirio Lobo over a proposed telecommunications law was averted when both sides agreed that the press would regulate its own content. The governing party's candidate, Juan Orlando Hernández, was declared the winner of presidential elections in late year, but the second place candidate, Xiomara Reyes de Castro, contested the results, bringing back to the surface intense polarization that has lingered since her husband was ousted in a coup d'état in 2009.



  • 80%

    Impunity in journalist murders
  • 60%

    Journalists threatened before killed
  • 4

    TV journalists attacked in 2013
  • 7,172

    Homicides in 2012
 

Slipshod investigations and, in some cases, allegations that journalists engaged in unethical practices, made it difficult to determine the motives in the murders of journalists in Honduras. Radio journalist Aníbal Barrow was abducted in June, and his body was found weeks later. No motive has been identified in the case.


Killed since 1992:

5 Confirmed
16 Unconfirmed

 

Almost two-thirds of the journalists killed in Honduras in relation to their work since 1992 had been threatened, according to CPJ research.

The data show that the murders are rarely solved. Reporters covering crime, corruption, and politics have been especially vulnerable to attacks.


Beats covered by murder victims:*

60% Covered corruption
60% Crime
40% Politics
20% Business
20% Culture

* Adds up to more than 100 percent because more than one beat applies in certain cases.

 

Gunmen fired on Globo reporter Fidelina Sandoval and Litoral Atlántico journalists Ramón Maldonado and Daniel Sánchez in two separate attacks. Channel 12 host Joel Coca was attacked by assailants wielding a bat and the butt of a gun.

Breakdown of attacks:
 

Honduras continues to be one of the world's deadliest nations, according to a January study by the Violence Observatory at the Honduran National Autonomous University.


Breakdown of homicide rates:

85.5

Murders per 100,000 inhabitants

20

Average murders per day

23.5%

Murders committed by assassins



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