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Monday, 12 March 2012

Honduran Journalist Brutally Murdered

IPI Urges Authorities to Combat Violence against the Media 

By: Mariela Hoyer and Scott Griffen

Forensic workers carry the body of journalist Luz Marina Paz, shot dead in her car together with her driver, in Tegucigalpa December 6, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Ramirez

VIENNA, Mar 12, 2012 – The International Press Institute (IPI) condemns the brutal murder of journalist Fausto Evelio Hernández Arteaga, early on Saturday, March 10 in Sabá, Colón department, in the northeast of the country.

Hernández Arteaga, who worked in the press department of Radio Alegre de Sabá, was riding his bicycle when a man estimated to be between the ages of 21 and 24 intercepted him and attacked him with a machete, local media reports said.

“The unknown assailant struck him with the machete, took his right arm and almost cut it off, but the majority of the wounds were in the upper part of the neck and in the face and [the assailant] was about the decapitate him,” La Tribuna newspaper reported. When a team of firemen arrived at the scene, the journalist had already died, La Prensa added.

According to statements made by family members and friends to La Prensa, the journalist did not have enemies nor did he cover themes that could have posed a risk to his security, leading the friends and family to discount the idea that Hernández Arteaga’s death was linked to his work. Those close to the journalist said that the mayor’s office, the National Civil Registry, the municipal market, and the offices of public services numbered among his sources.

The local police chief, Osmin Bardales, told AFP that although there had been multiple witnesses to the crime, no one wanted to assist in the investigation. The authorities have not determined the cause of the attack, but have ruled out robbery as the journalist was found with all of his belongings. Other versions of the story in local media mentioned that Hernández had been involved in a public disagreement that may have led to the violence.

IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie offered her condolences to the family and friends of Hernández Arteaga. “We had hoped that the alarming number of journalists killed in Honduras would decline this year, but unfortunately deaths are once again part of the statistics.

“We urge the authorities to swiftly investigate the motives behind the murder of Fausto Evelio Hernández Arteaga, and we hope that those responsible are brought to justice and face the consequences of their actions. It is imperative that aggression against journalists in Honduras cease and that the government demonstrate to the world, through action, that it is truly interested in improving the condition of the media in its country,” Bethel McKenzie added.

According to IPI statistics, more journalists were killed last year in Latin America than in any other region of the world. In Honduras, six journalists died in 2011 for reasons related to their work. This figure placed Honduras third, together with Pakistan and Yemen, on the list of the most dangerous countries in the world for reporters, with Mexico and Iraq at the top. In 2010, 10 journalists lost their lives in Honduras under violent circumstances.  

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