Photo: Diario Tiempo
Photo: Diario Tiempo

Honduran radio reporter gunned down

New York, March 12, 2010—Unidentified gunmen killed radio journalist David Meza Montesinos on Thursday as he was driving in the Honduran city of La Ceiba, local press reports said. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged authorities today to fully investigate Meza’s killing and bring those responsible to justice.

Meza, 51, a reporter for the local radio station El Patio and a correspondent for national broadcaster Radio America, was shot at about 5:30 p.m. near his home in the coastal city of La Ceiba, 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of the capital, Tegucigalpa. News reports said a van pulled alongside Meza’s car and at least one occupant fired several times. The journalist died at the scene, press reports said.

Honduran police did not disclose possible motives or identify any suspects, press reports said. Managers at Radio El Patio and Radio America told CPJ that Meza handled general assignments, including coverage of drug trafficking and organized crime. Neither manager was aware of any threats against Meza, although a local journalist told CPJ that Meza had recently been warned by unknown callers to be “careful” in his reporting.

“We are shocked by the killing of David Meza, and alarmed by rising violence in Honduras, which has cost the lives of two reporters in the last two weeks.” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “We urge Honduran authorities to investigate this killing and bring those responsible to justice.”

On March 1, reporter Joseph Hernández Ochoa was killed in similar circumstances in Tegucigalpa. In July 2009, unidentified gunmen killed reporter Gabriel Fino Noriega, a correspondent for Radio America in the Atlantic region. CPJ is investigating the three slayings to determine whether they were related to the journalists’ work.