Honduras Faces Criticism Over Failure to Probe Killings of 7 Journalists

The Honduran government has failed to adequately investigate the killings of seven journalists this year, an “alarming pattern of impunity,” the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

The victims were broadcast journalists and the killings took place from March to the middle of June, the group said in a statement on its website. At least three of the people were slain because of their reporting, and work-related motives may have contributed to the other deaths, the group said today.

The killings took place in the wake of last year’s coup that ousted former President Manuel Zelaya. Supporters of Zelaya, journalists and other critics have reported being victims of intimidation and assaults since the overthrow, the New York-based group said.

In one case, the government ignored a mandate from the Organization of American States to provide protection to a threatened TV anchor who was later gunned down.

“The murders occurred in a politically charged atmosphere of violence and lawlessness,” the Committee to Project Journalists said. “The government’s ongoing failure to successfully investigate crimes against journalists and other social critics -- whether by intention, impotence, or incompetence -- has created a climate of pervasive impunity.”

Honduras is ranked the most dangerous country for journalists in the world in 2010 by the Paris-based press freedoms watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Schmidt in Managua, Nicaragua at bschmidt16@bloomberg.net.

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