Miami (April 21, 2002)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today deplored the murder in Honduras of journalist Georgino Orellana of TVH television and issued an urgent call on the authorities to investigate to identify those responsible for this and five other such murders committed in the Central American country so far this year.
IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre condemned the latest murder and offered his condolences to the victim’s family and colleagues. Aguirre, editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, added, “The IAPA is greatly concerned at the wave of violence that continues to mount in Honduras and we note the slowness of the authorities in reacting decisively. There is no doubt that Honduras has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalists and the situation is very grave.”
Aguirre announced that the IAPA, through a special committee set up to deal with the issue of violence unleashed against the press prevailing in Honduras and Mexico, the two countries in the Americas with the greatest risks for those reporting the news, will be taking immediate action.
Orellana, 48, hosted the program “En vivo con Georgino” (Live with Georgino) broadcast daily from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. by TVH (Televisión de Honduras) based in San Pedro Sula province. After winding up his program last night (Tuesday, April 20) he was about to get into his car when he was attacked by an assailant who shot him in the head. Orellana was rushed to a local hospital, where he died shortly afterwards.
The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Robert Rivard, declared, “We will be looking at a number of ways of giving support to our colleagues in Honduras so as to reduce the risks to their physical safety and that of their family members in order for the journalists to continue doing their job and be able to report fully on any topic of general interest without fear of reprisals.”
Orellana, the sixth newsman to be killed in Honduras since March 1, had received death threats and in preliminary police inquiries robbery has been ruled out as a motive for his murder.
He also was a lecturer at the Autonomous National University of Valle de Sula. Until October last year he had worked for Televicentro TV station as a reporter with the program “Patrulla Nocturna” (Night Patrol), covering the police beat. He also worked for the newspaper La Prensa, for which he covered entertainment and culture topics and wrote a column titled “Con el dedo en la llaga” (With The Finger In The Wound).
Murdered in Honduras last month were José Bayardo Mairena and Manuel Juárez on March 26; Nahún Palacios on March 14; David Meza on March 11, and Joseph Hernández Ochoa on March 1. In addition, journalists Carol Cabrera and José Alemán were attacked, the latter deciding to flee the country on March 28.
In 2009 journalists Bernardo Rivera Paz, Santiago Rafael Munguía and Gabriel Fino Noriega were killed.
The IAPA, http://www.sipiapa.org, 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 Impunity Project, http://www.impunidad.com, is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and has the mission of combating violence against journalists and lessening the impunity surrounding the majority of such crimes.