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Young radio station manager killed before community radio meeting

Twenty-six-year-old radio manager Nery Jeremias Orellana was riding a motorcycle to work on 14 July in Candelaria, Lempira, near Honduras's border with El Salvador, when he was gunned down by unidentified assailants, report the Committee for Free Expression (C-Libre) and other IFEX members. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the International Press Institute (IPI), he is the third journalist killed possibly as a result of his profession this year in Honduras.

Orellana was shot several times in the head on his motorcycle by gunmen just minutes after he phoned Radio Progreso, a station for which he was also a correspondent, to confirm that he was going to participate in a regional meeting of community radio stations that day, C-Libre reports. He was rushed to a hospital nearby, where he died of his injuries a few hours later.

Orellana headed Radio Joconguera de Candelaria, a commercial radio station that also belonged to an alternative network of community radio stations, and regularly covered human rights violations in the area, reports RSF.

According to C-Libre, he offered air time to the Catholic Church, and the National Popular Resistance Front (FARP), a political party that formed after the coup that removed President Manuel Zelaya from office two years ago. He was a member of both groups.

"All this means that he was kind of journalist who was liable to be a target for violence," said RSF, which is demanding that the possibility that his murder is work-related be prioritised in an investigation.

Father José Amilcar, a priest in Candelaria who has criticised the coup and worked with the journalist, told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that he, Orellana and another Radio Joconguera employee had all recently received anonymous death threats via text message and had been heckled on the street. Amilcar said that he thought the journalist's death might have been "a message to the rest of us to make us keep quiet."

A dozen journalists have been killed in Honduras since March 2010, at least three in direct reprisal for their work, says CPJ. In June, Honduras was readmitted to the Organization of American States, but RSF noted that the readmission has not restored rule of law nor resolved the problems caused by the 2009 coup: IFEX members have recorded a string of recent attacks on journalists throughout the country.

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    Nery Geremias Orellana was shot by unknown assailants while driving his motorcycle from his home in the village of San Lorenzo to the radio station.

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