Armed men shoot at TV journalist in Honduras

New York, April 10, 2013–Unidentified gunmen apparently fired upon a Honduran TV journalist whose work had included coverage of a sensitive land conflict, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to conduct a thorough and effective investigation that leads to arrests in the attack against journalist Fidelina Sandoval, who was unharmed.

“Honduran authorities must fully investigate this crime, determine the motive, and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said CPJ’s Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “Officials must ensure that journalists can report the news without fearing for their lives.”

Two assailants in a gray pickup truck pulled up next to the journalist early Monday as she was waiting to cross the street to enter her offices at Globo, a TV and radio station in Tegucigalpa, the capital, Sandoval told The Associated Press. She told CPJ that she saw the barrel of a gun in one of the men’s hands, turned to run, and heard a gunshot before the pickup drove off. Sandoval also told CPJ that two witnesses believed the assailants were aiming at her.

Sandoval told CPJ that she thought the attack could be related to her reporting on land conflicts in the Bajo Aguán region, where peasants have been calling for the redistribution of land from local palm-oil plantations. She said she had been warned by colleagues that her coverage could put her at risk but that she had not received any direct threats.

Sandoval said she had reported the attack to authorities, according to news reports. CPJ research shows that the authorities have been slow and negligent in investigating numerous journalist murders and other anti-press crimes in recent years, even as they have tried to minimize the extent of the violence.

Radio Globo has been the target of serious attacks and multiple broadcasting disruptions in the aftermath of the 2009 ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.

  • For more data and analysis on Honduras, visit CPJ’s Attacks on the Press.