Saturday, December 20, 2014

Media: Murdered Honduran journalist had received threats over his work in the past

Source: IFEX

This statement was originally published on on 18 December 2014.

Reynaldo Paz Mayes, a regional TV station owner and presenter, was gunned down in a sports centre in the northern city of Comayagua on 15 December. Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to examine the possibility that his murder was linked to his journalistic work.

Paz's programme on RPM TV Canal 28, the station he owned, often touched on sensitive issues such as impunity, and he had received threats in connection with the opinions he expressed on the air. He was also a member of the opposition party LIBRE.

The police nonetheless say they think he was killed for his pistol, which was not found at the scene of the murder.

“We call on the authorities to carry out an exhaustive and independent investigation into Paz's murder and to not rule out the possibility that it was connected to his journalistic activities,” said Claire San Filippo, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk.

“They must end the unacceptable impunity for crimes of violence against journalists in Honduras. This murder is a tragic reminder of the need to quickly create a mechanism for protecting journalists and human rights defenders that is appropriate to the needs, and to give it the required financial and human resources.”

Freedom of information has declined dramatically since a June 2009 coup d'├ętat and Honduras is now one of the western hemisphere's deadliest countries for journalists, with at least 27 killed in a clear or probable connection with their work since 2000.

Honduras is ranked 129th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.