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Critical Honduran radio journalist threatened

(C-Libre/IFEX) – 12 September 2012 - Eduardo Coto Barnica, a journalist for Radio Uno in San Pedro Sula, Cortés department, was approached in the evening of 6 September 2012, in the central park by an individual who threatened him with something the attacker carried hidden under his shirt, which the journalist believes was a gun.

Coto Barnica thinks he was targeted because of his critical stance on the June 2009 coup d'etat, as well as for his outspoken commentary on political and economic matters which he discusses on his radio programme that airs from 11a.m. to noon.

The journalist said that he has been subjected to this type of intimidation since 1992, when he was forced to leave the country and flee to Spain. At that time Batallón 3-16, a death squadron, went after him after they found out that while he was working as a Canal 6 reporter he had filmed the moment when businessman Eduardo Piña Van Tuyl was shot to death.

Coto Barnica said that an officer from the former National Bureau of Investigation had mistakenly killed security guard Pedro Rosales of the HRN radio station instead of the journalist. "We wore the same colour clothing that day and his death was a result of my work as a journalist."

As well, one year ago "two armed people on a motorcycle waited for me as I got off a bus, but I was able to get away from them and back to my home without any problem. I was surprised though, when half an hour later the same men drove past my house. I called the police and they arrived two hours later, but at least they came to my aid," said Coto Barnica.

The veteran journalist also said that it is important that some sort of protection for journalists be implemented, adding "the situation for journalists in this country is getting worse."

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