Honduras should investigate attack on two journalists

New York, May 23, 2013–Honduran authorities must conduct a full and thorough investigation into Monday’s attack on two journalists in the northern town of La Ceiba, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Ramón Maldonado, a host for the morning news program “Noticias con Café” (News with Coffee) on the television station Litoral Atlántico, had left the station with Daniel Sánchez, a cameraman, at around 9 a.m. to report on a story in La Ceiba when an unidentified gunman on a motorcycle intercepted the car, according to local news reports. The assailant fired several times at the journalists before escaping, Maldonado told reporters. The men were not injured.

In an interview with the Tegucigalpa-based TV station Hable como Habla, for which Maldonado is also a correspondent, the journalist told reporters that he had not received threats prior to the attack. He said he believed the attack could have stemmed from his recent investigative reports into the local government, including coverage of the city’s debt and its problems in paying employee salaries and contracts, according to news reports.

CPJ’s calls and emails to the mayor’s office were not answered.

“This seems to be an attempt at censoring a journalist by shooting at him,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Authorities need to investigate all potential motives, including Ramón Maldonado’s reports on local government issues, and bring all those responsible to justice.”

A climate of violence and widespread impunity has made Honduras one of the most dangerous countries in the region, according to CPJ research. In April, unidentified gunmen fired upon Honduran TV journalist Fidelina Sandoval whose work had included coverage of a sensitive land conflict, according to news reports.

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