12 May 2011

Outraged at murder in Honduras, IAPA calls on government to honor its commitment to end violence, impunity

Aa
Miami (May 12, 2011)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today voiced outrage at the murder of journalist Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco in Honduras and called on President Porfirio Lobo’s government to honor its pledge to protect the press and combat the impunity surrounding the murders of 10 Honduran reporters in recent months.
$.-

Miami (May 12, 2011)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today voiced outrage at the murder of journalist Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco in Honduras and called on President Porfirio Lobo’s government to honor its pledge to protect the press and combat the impunity surrounding the murders of 10 Honduran reporters in recent months. 

Medina Polanco, 36, was the producer and host of the cable television news program “TV9” broadcast by Omega Visión in Morazá, in the northern province of Yoro. In the evening of May 10, just a few blocks from his home, he was approached by unidentified persons on a motorcycle who shot him three times in the back and once in the arm. He was rushed to the hospital in San Pedro Sula, where he died the following day. 

IAPA President Gonzalo Marroquín, president of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Siglo 21, condemned the murder and urged President Lobo “to honor his public commitment to end the violence unleashed against the press and solve crimes committed against journalists.” 

The Honduran government, through Security Minister Oscar Álvarez, reported earlier this year that it was working on solving the crimes against reporters with the aid of the U.S. FBI and the governments of Colombia and Spain. In March the minister announced the arrest of the alleged killers of four journalists, without giving further details, and said that investigations were under way in another seven homicides. 

Medina Polanco had reported receiving death threats and two attempts on his life. He was known in the local community for his exposure of wrongdoing in the Morazán mayor’s office and reports on land ownership disputes. 

In April last year, in recommendations made to the Honduran government to combat violence against the press and impunity, the IAPA urged President Lobo to set up special public prosecutor’s offices to deal with offenses against journalists, push for legal reforms for a special jurisdiction, and stiffen penalties and lengthen statutes of limitation to deal with such crimes, among other actions. 

“Without effective measures not only will the problem of impunity not be resolved but this spiral of violence restricting press freedom will continue to escalate,” declared the chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Robert Rivard, editor of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas. 

Nine journalists were murdered in Honduras in 2010 – Henry Suazo, Israel Zelaya Díaz, Luis Arturo Mondragón, Jorge Alberto Orellana, Víctor Manuel Juárez, José Bayardo Mairena, Nahúm Palacios, David Meza and Joseph A. Hernández Ochoa. 

The murder of Medina Polanco brings to eight the number of press members killed so far this year in the Americas. The others were Julio Castillo Narváez, Peru; Alfredo Hurtado, El Salvador; Valério Nascimento and Luciano Leitão Pedrosa, Brazil; Luis Emmanuel Ruiz Carrillo and Rodolfo Ochoa Moreno, Mexico, and Medardo Moreno, Paraguay. In addition, the whereabouts of Noel López Olguín of Mexico remain unknown.   

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.

Share

0