UNESCO Chief Condemns Sixth Murder of Journalist in Honduras in 2010

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–21 April 2010 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with upholding press freedom today condemned the murder of a journalist in Honduras, the sixth media professional slain in the Central American nation so far this year.

Luis Antonio Chévez Hernández, 22, a presenter with Radio W105, was murdered in the north-west city of San Pedro Sula on 13 April.

“I am gravely concerned about repeated attacks on journalists in Honduras and trust the authorities will spare no effort in pursuing those behind these crimes,” said Iri na Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“It is important for stability and rule of law that media workers in the country be able to exercise their right of freedom of expression without fearing for their lives.”

Reporters Without Borders, a non-governmental organization (NGO), said that Mr. Hernández’s death brings the total number of journalists killed in Honduras to six this year. The group has called Honduras and Mexico the deadliest countries by far for journalists working in the Western Hemisphere.

In March, a UNESCO report found that rising numbers of journalists are being killed worldwide, mostly in countries that are at peace, and called for an end to impunity in the murders of media professionals.

Last year set a new record, with 77 murders reported by the agency. The high number is due in part to the murder of some 30 journalists in one day during an ambush in the Philippines on 23 November 2009, the publication said.

“Sadly, the frequency of acts of violence against journalists is increasing,” it noted. “In most cases, impunity precludes the way of justice, and if this trend prevails, journalists will remain easy targets.

“Needless to say this represents a severe threat to freedom of expression and to our ability to seek the truth.”