Honduran daily attacked by gunmen

New York, December 5, 2011–The offices of Honduran daily La Tribuna, based in the capital, Tegucigalpa, were attacked by unidentified gunmen early this morning after the newspaper published reports that linked local police to recent murders, news reports said.

Witnesses said assailants in a gray car fired around 10 shots at the offices, leaving bullet holes in the walls and shattering a glass door, La Tribuna reported. A security guard, José Manuel Izaguirre, was hit three times and later hospitalized, news reports said.

La Tribuna published reports in October that linked local police to the murders of two university students. News accounts reported that four police officers were imprisoned and three were considered fugitives in the case.

On November 20, unidentified assailants in a car followed a reporter for La Tribuna and fired at him. The reporter was not injured. Three days later, the newspaper published a “public complaint” saying that members of its staff had been harassed and threatened by law enforcement officials.

La Tribuna news editor Martín Ramírez said the vehicle in the November 20 incident was believed to be the same one in today’s attack, but did not provide any more details. No suspects have been identified in either incident.

“We condemn this latest attack against the daily La Tribuna,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Honduran authorities must put an end to the cycle of impunity in attacks against journalists, which are hindering coverage of sensitive issues. We urge the authorities to thoroughly investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice.”

In May, gunmen shot and wounded Manuel Acosta Medina, La Tribuna‘s general manager, as he was driving home. In the two months leading up to that attack, CPJ documented a string of attacks against journalists throughout the country. Twelve Honduran journalists have been murdered since March 2010, at least three in direct reprisal for their work. A 2010 CPJ special report found a pattern of botched and negligent investigative work into the killings.