Police cordon off the area of a homicide in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on October 8, 2015. Honduran journalist Leonardo Gabriel Hernández was killed in Nacaome on March 17, 2019. (Jorge Cabrera/Reuters)

TV journalist Leonardo Gabriel Hernández shot dead in Honduras

March 18, 2019 4:35 PM ET

Miami, March 18, 2019 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists today urged Honduran authorities to immediately undertake a credible and rigorous investigation into the killing of journalist Leonardo Gabriel Hernández.

An unidentified individual shot and killed Hernández yesterday near his home in the city of Nacaome, in the Valle department in southern Honduras, according to local news reports.

Hernandez hosted a program on the local, privately owned Valle television channel called "El Pueblo Habla" (The People Speak), where he discussed social issues and local politics, according to those reports and a representative from Honduran press freedom organization C-Libre, who spoke to CPJ and asked not to be named.

"Honduran authorities must immediately do everything in their power to investigate the killing of Leonardo Gabriel Hernández, establish the motive, and bring those responsible to justice," said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick in New York. "Officials must act to ensure that Hernández's name is not added to the long list of Honduran journalists whose murders were committed with complete impunity."

According to a statement by C-Libre, Hernández was critical of government officials, including Nacaome's mayor and regional members of Congress.

Hernández had received threats related to his work in the past and had requested assistance from the national protection mechanism for journalists and human rights defenders in 2018, but was denied, according to the C-Libre representative, media reports, and the investigative journalism group Reporteros de Investigación,

CPJ's calls to the offices of the national protective mechanism and the Honduran prosecutor's offices went unanswered.

A 2014 CPJ report found that organized crime and corruption in Honduras have produced an alarming rate of unsolved cases of violence against journalists.

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