Press association condemns journalist murder in Honduras; violence in Mexico, Dominican Republic
MIAMI, USA -- The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has condemned the murder of television host Carlos Fernández in Honduras and attacks on journalists in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, calling on the authorities to “activate mechanisms to protect freedom of the press.”
Fernández, 54, was killed on Thursday night on the Honduran island of Roatán after winding up his program on Canal 27 television in which he hosted a news broadcast. According to reports by local media unidentified persons shot him at least three times as he was arriving at his home.
In calling for the crime to be solved IAPA president Gustavo Mohme declared, “We must not get accustomed to this sad occurrence in a country where violence against the press and lack of punishment prevail, we must demand that the authorities investigate and solve these crimes.”
The IAPA also condemned the abduction in Mexico of Enrique Juárez Torres, editor in chief of the Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, newspaper El Mañana. Last Wednesday, several armed men broke into the newspaper’s offices and took the journalist away by force. The assailants beat, threatened and berated him for having published in his newspaper reports of violent acts occurring on the Mexican border with the United States. He was freed several hours later.
The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, insisted that “there should be activated security mechanisms that have been established by law to defend freedom of the press, something that has declined in Honduras and Mexico.”
The IAPA also expressed concern at repeated reports of threats being made to journalists in the Dominican Republic and asked the authorities there to act speedily to ensure their safety.
El Día reported that a reporter and photographer of the newspaper were threatened on Thursday by members of the family of two people accused of drug trafficking who are on trial in the city of Higüey, 90 miles east of the capital of Santo Domingo.
In another incident, journalists Juan Bolívar Díaz, Huchi Lora, Roberto Cavada and Amelia Deschamps reported at a press conference earlier last week having received death threats and been recipients of public insults for their stance in defence of the Haitian population or those of Haitian origin in the country.
In a video recorded on January 26 during an activity of the political group Movimiento Patriótico Independiente (Independent Patriotic Movement) in the city of Santiago a supporter declared, “The anti-Dominican traitors deserve to die” and immediately named each of the journalists, who filed a formal complaint with the city’s Public Prosecutor’s Office.