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Knight Center

JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Director of Honduran newspaper El Libertador and wife survive shooting in Tegucigalpa



Honduran journalists Johnny Lagos and Lurbin Yadira Cerrato of El Libertador newspaper were shot on Aug. 24 in the capital of Tegucigalpa.

Lagos, the newspaper's director, and his wife were attacked after leaving the offices of El Libertador in the neighborhood of Palermo, in the eastern region of the Honduran capital, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The journalist's son, also called Johnny Lagos, told reporters that unknown men in a vehicle attacked the two communicators after they left the offices in a car, according to El Tiempo.

According to him, at least five shots were fired, Criterio reported. During the attack one of the shooters shouted at the other to "finish that son of a b****, hit him in the head,” according to Honduran organization C-Libre (Committee for Freedom of Expression).

The vehicle in which Lagos and his wife were traveling was shot several times. The shooters fled and have not yet been identified.

Lagos’ son said his father left unharmed, but that Yadira Cerrato was grazed by a bullet in her left shoulder, the AP reported. "Both are well, and the [Lagos] director is making international alerts and corresponding complaints," he added, according to El Tiempo.

According to the AP, the Honduran police classified the incident as an attempted robbery. "It was a robbery. The individuals used firearms and endangered the lives of the victims," police said in a statement.

C-Libre said the attackers appear to have stolen a briefcase from the journalist.

El Libertador newspaper, which has an online version and a monthly print edition, has criticized Honduran President Juan Hernández, who submitted his candidacy for the November presidential election although the country's constitution bars re-election, according to the AP.

The Center for Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights in Honduras (CIPRODEH) condemned the attack on the journalists and stated that "this criminal action is an expression of a State incapable of guaranteeing security to its inhabitants, much less the free exercise of the press."

The organization said it believed it was a "political attack" and accused the Honduran government of trying “to silence once and for all independent journalists in the country." "It is not enough to impose a society of secrets, to impose legislative measures to imprison, for terrorism, freedom of expression that dares to discuss the subject of organized crime,” CIPRODEH criticized.

Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), condemned the attack on his Twitter account. “The attack must be invested in line with journalistic work,” he said.



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