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Journalist threatened, directed to resign from work

The following is a translation of a 6 February 2017 article originally published on clibrehonduras.com.

On 1 February 2017, journalist Edgar Joel Aguilar, a correspondent for Channel 6 in the city of La Entrada, Honduras, received a death threat via social media. La Entrada is located in Nueva Arcadia municipality, in the department of Copán.

Aguilar has worked for 14 years as a "nota roja" reporter and presenter, chronicling local violence and crime incidents for Telemaya Channel 12. He also has an entertainment programme, called "Party Nights".

Aguilar reported the threats against him to the Police Investigations Directorate (Dirección Policial de Investigación, DPI), but the police have refused to accept Aguilar's statement and investigate his case.

The threats were received via messages on WhatsApp, from phone number +5049571-1186, as well as via a Facebook account linked to the name Carlos García. The most aggressive message consisted of an ultimatum giving the journalist six days to "leave Channel 12." The threats also consisted of a note, written in slang, saying: "you are behind a death and you know well…. so watch out or death will take you."

On 27 April 2012, at 10:40 p.m., Aguilar was the victim of an attack in which he was shot at a minimum of 28 times by individuals with R-15 rifles. He miraculously managed to live through the attack.

According to information provided by Aguilar, the most worrisome element of the threats against him is the similarity to warnings received by the owner of Channel HCH less than a month earlier, containing threats to kill two of the media outlet's correspondents if the owner failed to dismiss a particular journalist.

In addition, Aguilar said, "It reminds me a lot of the assassination of Igor Padilla. That also involved a situation in which they were told to fire a certain colleague within a given time period or a journalist would be killed in the city of San Pedro Sula. And that's what happened with the assassination of Igor Padilla."

Within this context it is important to remember that Principle 9 of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights' Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression - which is contained within Honduran legislation - stipulates that "murder, kidnapping, intimidation of and/or threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression. It is the duty of the state to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation."

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