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IFJ Condemns Spate of Journalists' Murders in Honduras

March 17, 2010

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today expressed fresh concern over the media crisis in Honduras following three murders in two weeks targeting media. The killings of Joseph Hernández Ochoa, a former TV presenter on 1 March, David Meza Montesinos, a radio reporter who died on 11 March and fellow reporter Nahum Palacios Arteaga murdered three days later were carried out in drive- by shootings.

"This spate of murders targeting journalists in Honduras shows the alarming level of increasing political violence in the country," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.

"There is a disturbing trend of targeting of journalists in a cold-blooded series of planned assassinations."

According to media reports, all three journalists were killed while driving their cars. Arteaga, 34, a radio reporter, was shot dead on Sunday 14 March in the coastal city of Tocoa. Gunmen blocked his car before firing a hail of bullets - 41 in all - into the car, killing him instantly.

Montesinos, a veteran reporter for El Patio radio station, was killed as he was driving home in the town of La Ceiba when armed men opened fire from another car. He had reportedly received death threats earlier over his coverage of the drug trade.

Ochoa, a former television presenter, also died in a drive-by shooting which also injured a passenger in his car, fellow journalist Carol Cabrera. Their car was sprayed with bullets by gunmen travelling in another vehicle, reports say.

The IFJ says journalists are victims of organised crime as the country struggles to restore political dialogue and law and order in the wake of last year's coup d'état which sparked political unrest in the country. The Federation accused at the time the coup leaders of attacking journalists and closing media in Honduras.

"Journalists are extremely vulnerable in Honduras as impunity is taking hold in the country," added White. "Every effort must be made to protect journalists and restore the rule of law and order to the streets."

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 2 235 2207

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