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Ninth journalist slain in 2010

Under President Lobo's rein, journalists continue to be killed in a culture of impunity.
Under President Lobo's rein, journalists continue to be killed in a culture of impunity.

Reuters

A journalist was found shot to death on a rural road in northern Honduras on 24 August, report the Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre), the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and other IFEX members. Journalist Israel Zelaya Díaz is the ninth journalist killed this year since President Porfirio Lobo assumed power in January. The culture of impunity that has arisen under Lobo is silencing critical journalists, says a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Zelaya Díaz, 56, was shot three times and dropped from a moving vehicle near a sugarcane field. A radio reporter for the San Pedro Sula-based broadcaster Radio Internacional, Zelaya Díaz covered politics and crime, but he was not involved in investigative work, says CPJ. His home was damaged in a fire of undetermined origin months ago.

In a special July report, CPJ highlighted how Honduran authorities have been slow and negligent in finding the killers of journalists, and claimed that as a result the government is creating a climate of lawlessness that is permitting criminals to murder journalists with impunity. The state dismissed the murders of the other journalists this year as routine street crimes. "Many journalists fear the murders have been conducted with the tacit approval, or even outright complicity, of police, armed forces, or other authorities," says the report.

"You get the impression that the government wants you in terror so you don't know what to report. Is this story about drugs too dangerous? What about this one about political corruption? At the end you don't report anything that will make powerful people uncomfortable," said Geovany Domínguez, a senior editor of "Tiempo" newspaper in Tegucigalpa.

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