25 August 2010
IAPA condemns murder of Honduran journalist, calls for immediate action
The IAPA denounced the murder of journalist Israel Zelaya Díaz in Honduras. This is the eighth such crime this year and is believed to be linked to his work as a reporter. The organization urged authorities to act diligently to identify the responsible for this murder and others committed over the past two years.
The IAPA denounced the murder of journalist Israel Zelaya Díaz in Honduras. This is the eighth such crime this year and is believed to be linked to his work as a reporter. The organization urged authorities to act diligently to identify the responsible for this murder and others committed over the past two years. Zelaya, a reporter for Radio Internacional, was found dead Tuesday (August 24) in a sugar cane field in the town of Villanueva, located in the northern province of Cortés. Zelaya, nicknamed Chacatay, had been shot twice in the head and once in the back. No bullet shells were found at the scene, leading investigators to believe that his body was brought by car, possibly a taxi. Robbery was ruled out as the motive, his wallet, mobile phone and belongings having been found intact. IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre offered condolences to Zelayas family and colleagues and added, We regret this new murder in Honduras, and there will be a lot more to regret if it suffers the same fate as the previous killings of reporters that are still unsolved this only leads to a climate of impunity and further submission to violence. Aguirre, editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, recalled that in April, during his visit to Miami, the IAPA presented Honduras President Porfirio Lobo with a list of recommendations for legal and judicial means to combat crimes against journalists. The hemisphere organization suggested setting up a system of international observers with the support of the United Nations, creating a special public prosecutors office, and backing Penal Code reforms to strengthen penalties for offenses against free speech and press freedom. Zelaya, who was from San Pedro Sula, was a journalist for 30 years. At the time of his death he worked for a program dealing with items of national interest, Claro y pelado (Clear and Transparent), on Radio Internacional. He began his career as a sports reporter and worked for a number of media outlets, among them Emisoras Unidas radio network, Tele-Diario television, Radio Norte radio and the newspaper La Tribuna. A member of the Honduras Journalists Guild, he informed not long ago that his home had been assaulted. According to the local press his car was shot at several years ago. It is unknown whether either of these incidents is connected to his work as a journalist. Robert Rivard, chairman of the IAPAs Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas, said, A diligent and in-depth investigation by the authorities is urgent in order to halt the violence and ensure the safety of journalists so they can do their job as reporters. Other reporters murdered in Honduras this year are: Luis Arturo Mondragón (on June 14), Georgino Orellana (April 20), Manuel Juárez and José Bayardo Mairena (March 26), Nahúm Palacios (March 14), David Meza (March 11) and Joseph A. Hernández Ochoa (March 1); killed in 2009 were Bernardo Rivera Paz (March 13), Santiago Rafael Munguía (March 31) and Gabriel Fino Noriega (July 3). All cases remain unsolved. Journalists also killed this year include nine in Mexico and one in Colombia. The whereabouts of another nine journalists in Mexico remain unknown.