New York, June 25, 2013–Authorities must do everything in their power to ensure the safe release of Honduran television journalist Aníbal Barrow, who was abducted on Monday, and to bring the kidnappers to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
“An unrelenting cycle of anti-press violence and intimidation is crippling journalists’ ability to do their job and, as a result, leaves the country uninformed about issues of public interest,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior Americas program coordinator.
Unidentified gunmen intercepted Barrow’s car in the city of San Pedro Sula on Monday, according to news reports. Barrow, the prominent host of a morning talk show on Globo TV, was traveling with his daughter-in-law, grandson, and driver. The gunmen took control of the car and subsequently freed all of the passengers except Barrow, the reports said.
Several hours later, police found the vehicle abandoned in another part of town, with a bullet hole in one door and blood inside, a Globo representative told CPJ. Police did not say to whom the blood belonged, the representative said. The family has not received any calls seeking a ransom, according to news reports.
Radio Globo, which is affiliated with Globo TV, has been the target of serious attacks multiple broadcasting disruptions after reporting critically on the aftermath of the 2009 ouster of President Manuel Zelaya. Local journalists told CPJ that Barrow’s program was mostly a commentary show and that he touched on current events, including crime and politics, but didn’t do in-depth investigations. They said they were unaware if he had received any threats.
A climate of violence and widespread impunity has made Honduras one of the most dangerous countries in the region, according to CPJ research. In May, two journalists were attacked by gunmen in the northern town of La Ceiba.
- For more data and analysis, visit CPJ’s Honduras page.