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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Kidnapped Honduran radio journalist found dead




Just hours after Honduran President Porfirio Lobo said that kidnapped journalist Alfredo Villatoro was still alive, the secretary of Public Security denied this information and announced that on the night of Tuesday, May 15, authorities discovered the dead body of the prominent radio journalist who worked for HRN, the most prominent Honduran radio station, reported BBC news.

The authorities found the body in an abandoned field south of the capital of Tegucigalpa. Journalist Villatoro was dressed in a national police uniform, according to Fox News. The journalist was blindfolded and shot several times in the head, reported the news agency AFP.

The journalist was kidnapped in Tegucigalpa on May 9 while driving to the radio station where he worked for 20 years as the news director and a radio journalist for a morning news show.

With the killing of Villatoro, there have been 22 killings of Honduran journalists since 2010, the year President Lobo took office after a coup d'etat in June 2009. Just two days before Villatoro's kidnapping another journalist was killed.

"Persistent hostility against Honduran journalists is limiting information flow and weakening the citizen's right to information," said Carlos Lauría of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Due to the increasing number of threats and attacks against the Honduran press, the organization Reporters Without Borders requested Honduran authorities begin an effective program to protect journalists and human rights advocates that are exposed to danger, reported Prensa Libre.

Public Security representative Héctor Iván Mejía said authorities are investigating the motives behind Villatoro's killing and that violence in Honduras could have increased since the approval of the U.S. deportation bill, according to the news site Voz de América.

Honduras is considered the second-most dangerous country in the Americas for the press. According to the UN, Honduras is also the most violent country in the world because of its high homicide rate. For more information, see this Knight Center of the Americas map about attacks against the press in Central America.



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