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IAPA angered by journalists' murders, calls for prompt investigations

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami, May 19, 2011 - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed anger at the murder of two journalists, one in Honduras and the other in Venezuela, and publicly called on the authorities of the two countries to conduct prompt investigations to bring those responsible to justice. The motives for the murders were not immediately known.

In Honduras Luis Mendoza, a media owner and coffee grower, was killed this morning in Danlí in the eastern province of El Paraíso. According to the local newspaper La Tribuna he was shot at with high-caliber weapons by unidentified masked assailants who intercepted him near the downtown Canal 24 television station that he owned at around 7:10 a.m. His attackers fled in a vehicle that was later found abandoned and on fire. Two women were also injured during the incident.

Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco was also murdered in Honduras, in an incident last week. Henry Suazo, Israel Zelaya Díaz, Luis Arturo Mondragón, Jorge Alberto Orellana, Víctor Manuel Juárez, José Bayardo Mairena, Nahúm Palacios, David Meza and Joseph A. Hernández Ochoa were killed in 2010. None of these cases has been fully solved.

In Venezuela, the body of journalist Wilfred Ojeda was found on May 17 in La Victoria, in the northern state of Aragua. The journalist had a hood over his head, his hands and feet were bound and he had been shot in the head. Ojeda, 56, was a columnist with the regional newspaper El Clarín, a leader of the opposition Acción Democrática party and a former member of the state legislature.

IAPA President Gonzalo Marroquín, president of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Siglo 21, expressed concern at the two most recent killings, stating, "The best way to combat impunity is to conduct investigations promptly and in depth so as to learn the real motives and determine who has been responsible."
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