Honduras journalist slain, 17th in past two years

December 7, 2011

Honduran journalist Luz Marina Paz was shot dead by gunmen Tuesday along with a mechanic traveling with her, police said, in the latest in a series of attacks targeting news media.

She was killed in an attack outside the capital and became the 17th journalist killed in the Central American nation since a 2009 coup.

She had worked for Radio Globo, linked to ousted president Manuel Zelaya, before joining the Cadena Hondurena de Noticias or CHN broadcaster.

Last year, 11 journalists were killed in the country – one of the most violent in the world – and where public safety has deteriorated since the June 29, 2009 military-backed coup.

Honduras has become a transit point for cocaine from South America heading into the United States. Drug gangs are better armed than the police, and have cash to bribe law enforcement and politicians.

By the end of 2011 Honduras is likely to have the highest murder rate in the world – 86 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Violence Observatory in Tegucigalpa, a UN-backed monitor. On average there have been 20 violent deaths a day in 2011, 85 percent of them caused by shootings.

A 2010 report by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) found “an alarming pattern of impunity” in Honduras as shown by the “inability or unwillingness” of authorities “to take obvious steps to investigate the crimes and arrest the perpetrators.”

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