Miami (December 29, 2010)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed outrage at the murder yesterday in Honduras of journalist Henry Suazo which brought to nine the number of newsmen killed in the Central American country this year. The majority of the murders remain unsolved. The hemisphere organization called on the Honduran government to treat all cases with urgency in order to attain justice and end impunity.
Suazo, 32, was attacked shortly after 8:00 a.m. yesterday, December 28, as he was leaving his home in the town of La Masica, in the northern province of Atlántida. An unidentified person riding a bicycle shot him twice in the head. Suazo was a correspondent for the Tegucigalpa radio station HRN and anchored a newscast on TV Cablevisión del Atlántico.
IAPA President Gonzalo Marroquín, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Prensa Libre, said, “We regret ending the year on such a sad note and we offer our condolences to the journalist’s family members and colleagues while at the same time sending our most earnest plea to President Porfirio Lobo’s government to investigate immediately in order to discover the motive for the crime, identify those responsible and bring them to justice so that the cycle of violence unleashed this year against journalists is finally closed.”
Robert Rivard, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas, recalled that in April an IAPA delegation delivered a document to President Lobo during his visit to Miami containing five recommendations for legal instruments to combat crimes against journalists.
The recommendations included consideration of existing international instruments, the creation of special prosecutor’s offices for these crimes, legal and judicial reforms allowing for a dedicated jurisdiction, amendments to the Penal Code to stiffen penalties in cases of offenses against freedom of expression, and urging the Honduran judiciary to observe relevant international treaties.
Suazo’s murder follows the killings of Israel Zelaya Díaz, Luis Arturo Mondragón, Jorge Alberto Orellana, Víctor Manuel Juárez, José Bayardo Mairena, Nahúm Palacios, David Meza and Joseph A. Hernández Ochoa, all committed in 2010.
“We trust,” the IAPA officers said, “that President Lobo will act on his promise to seek and receive the help of friendly nations to confront the plague of violence that makes Honduras one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist.”
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 Impunity Project 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. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org; http://www.impunidad.com