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Tuesday, 07 August 2012

Honduran journalist seeks asylum in U.S.

Radio correspondent makes request following son’s shooting 

By: Steven M. Ellis, IPI Senior Press Freedom Adviser

Journalists hold candles during a protest against violence against journalists in Tegucigalpa on May 24, 2012. Photo: REUTERS/Stringer

VIENNA, Aug 7, 2012 – A Honduran reporter is seeking asylum in the United States with his family after his son was shot and wounded on Friday in what the journalist said was the third attempt on his life in recent years.

Honduran daily El Heraldo reported that José Encarnación Chinchilla López – a correspondent with Radio Cadena Voces in El Progreso, Yoro, in the north of the country – asked the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa for permission to travel to the United States.

Chinchilla’s 24-year-old son, Jose Alberto Chinchilla Bardales, was wounded in Friday’s attack, in which two individuals on a motorcycle reportedly opened fire on his home with 9 millimetre pistols. Chinchilla’s son is reportedly expected to recover.

IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills said: “In the last few years Honduras has become one of the most dangerous countries on earth for journalists. Regardless of the challenges, the Honduran authorities have an obligation to bring killers to justice and to roll back the tide of impunity. Otherwise, this deadly cycle of violence will continue.”

According to the current tally on IPI’s Death Watch, at least three journalists have been killed in the country so far this year, and at least 18 others have been killed since the end of June 2009, when former president Manuel Zelaya was removed from power in what the Organisation of American States has called a coup d’état.