Luis Arturo Mondragón, a 53-year-old television journalist and news director, was gunned down in eastern Honduras, near the border with Nicaragua, as he was leaving work on June 14, becoming the ninth journalist in the country to be killed since January. Mondragón had covered government corruption and crime, as well as environmental issues.
One of Mondragón´s relatives told the Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, that he had received anonymous death threats for the past two years.
“This is truly shocking. Only by prosecuting those responsible for journalists´ murders will the authorities send a message that this deadly onslaught against the press will not go unpunished,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ´s Americas program senior coordinator.
CPJ and other press organizations have called on the Honduran government to fully investigate the crimes, for which no charges have been brought, and are investigating themselves to see whether the killings were work related.
Violence, threats and press freedom limits have increased since the June 2009 coup that ousted former President Manuel Zelaya, marked by arbitrary arrests of journalists while some anti-coup media outlets were forced off the air.
“It´s impossible to know the exact motive of these attacks without an adequate investigation,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “But the murders and threats are generating a climate of fear that is likely to have a chilling effect on the Honduran media.”