Miami (March 12, 2010)–The Inter American Press Association today expressed its alarm over the murder of Honduran journalist David Meza, the second homicide of a newsman there in less than 15 days. The organization called on authorities to conduct an urgent investigation into the motive and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The organization informed that more than 200 editors and publishers will participate in its Midyear Meeting in Aruba next week where the main topic of discussion will be the violence that has overwhelmed the hemisphere since November last year; six Mexican journalists have been kidnapped and ten journalists murdered – six in Mexico, two in Honduras, one in Brazil and one in Colombia.
IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre, editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, said the organization is alarmed “at the high level of violence reported in these last few months and how little attention governments across the Americas are paying it”.
Aguirre offered his sympathy to Meza’s family and colleagues, adding, “It is up to the investigative and judicial authorities to work quickly to determine who was responsible and prevent this and other murders from going unpunished.”
Robert Rivard, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas, informed that during the meeting in Aruba “while we will be taking up other important developments affecting freedom of the press, such as restrictive legislation and economic and legal actions against news media, there is no doubt that violence and the search for strategies to combat this epidemic will be the focus of our attention.”
The IAPA officers recalled that in 2009 a total of 23 journalists were killed in the Americas, three in Honduras – Bernardo Rivera Paz, Santiago Rafael Munguía and Gabriel Fino Noriega – and that unfortunately all three crimes remain unpunished.
Meza, 51, was murdered on March 11 in an apparent attack by drug traffickers over news coverage of their activities. According to local media the attack occurred around 5:20 p.m. after his car was tailed and shot at. Meza lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a house a short distance from his home.
Meza was a reporter with Radio El Patio for the past 30 years. He also worked as a correspondent for Canal 10’s TV program “Abriendo brecha” (Breakthrough) and the national radio network Radio América in La Ceiba port, 300 miles from the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa.
Meza’s murder follows the March 1st death of Joseph Hernández Ochoa, in Tegucigalpa, in an attack that also injured journalist Carol Cabrera – the presumed target of the assault. In December unidentified assailants shot and killed one of her daughters.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. The IAPA’s Impunity Project is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and has as its mission to combat violence against journalists and reduce the impunity surrounding the majority of such crimes. For more information, please go to http://www.sipiapa.org / http:www.impunidad.com