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Attacks on the Press in 2013 - Honduras

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date March 2014
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2013 - Honduras, March 2014, available at: [accessed 22 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Key Developments

  • Journalists targeted amid a general climate of rampant violence.

  • Murders go unsolved and motives remain unclear.

The Honduran press continued to face violence and intimidation as the country struggled with pervasive crime and general lawlessness. Journalists who covered sensitive topics like drug trafficking, government corruption, and land conflicts were threatened and attacked. A prominent radio talk show host, Aníbal Barrow, was abducted from his car and found murdered weeks later. Authorities said they were investigating to determine if the killing was related to the journalist's work. But the climate of impunity persisted in Honduras, with allegations of law enforcement engaging in corruption and forming police death squads. Allegations also surfaced that journalists engaged in extortion. A standoff between the country's main media companies and President Porfirio Lobo over a proposed telecommunications law was averted when both sides agreed that the press would regulate its own content. The governing party's candidate, Juan Orlando Hernández, was declared the winner of presidential elections in late year, but the second place candidate, Xiomara Reyes de Castro, contested the results, bringing back to the surface intense polarization that has lingered since her husband was ousted in a coup d'état in 2009.

[Refworld note: The sections that follow represent a best effort to transcribe onto a single page information that appears in tabs on the CPJ's own pages, which also include a number of dynamically-generated graphics not readily reproducible here. Refworld researchers are therefore strongly recommended to check against the original report: Attacks on the Press in 2013.]

Impunity in journalist murders: 80%

Slipshod investigations and, in some cases, allegations that journalists engaged in unethical practices, made it difficult to determine the motives in the murders of journalists in Honduras. Radio journalist Aníbal Barrow was abducted in June, and his body was found weeks later. No motive has been identified in the case.

Killed since 1992:

  • 5 Confirmed

  • 16 Unconfirmed

Journalists threatened before killed: 60%

Almost two-thirds of the journalists killed in Honduras in relation to their work since 1992 had been threatened, according to CPJ research.

The data show that the murders are rarely solved. Reporters covering crime, corruption, and politics have been especially vulnerable to attacks.

Beats covered by murder victims:*

  • 60% Covered corruption
  • 60% Crime
  • 40% Politics
  • 20% Business
  • 20% Culture

* Adds up to more than 100 percent because more than one beat applies in certain cases.

TV journalists attacked in 2013: 4

Gunmen fired on Globo reporter Fidelina Sandoval and Litoral Atlántico journalists Ramón Maldonado and Daniel Sánchez in two separate attacks. Channel 12 host Joel Coca was attacked by assailants wielding a bat and the butt of a gun.

Homicides in 2012: 7,172

Honduras continues to be one of the world's deadliest nations, according to a January study by the Violence Observatory at the Honduran National Autonomous University.

Breakdown of homicide rates:

85.5 Murders per 100,000 inhabitants

20 Average murders per day

23.5% Murders committed by assassins

Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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