Los Angeles, December 22, 2020 – Honduran authorities should conduct a swift and transparent investigation into the killing of journalist Pedro Canelas, determine whether his killing was related to his work, and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On December 19, in the southern city of Dulce Nombre de Culmí, an unidentified individual on a motorcycle approached Canelas’ car while he was parked outside a convenience store and shot him, according to news reports and National Police spokesperson Jair Meza, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview. Canelas was transferred to a local hospital, where he died hours later, according to reports.
Canelas owned Radio Bambi, a radio station where he also worked as a news presenter covering local politics and social issues, according to Javier Orellana, president of the Catacamas Journalist Association, a local press organization of which Canelas was a member.
Meza told CPJ that a police team has been sent to Dulce Nombre de Cumbí to investigate the case, and that authorities have not yet determined a motive for the killing or arrested any suspects.
“The killing of radio journalist Pedro Canelas is the latest reminder of the dangers faced by members of the press in Honduras,” said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick, in New York. “Honduran authorities must undertake a credible investigation to determine if his killing was related to his reporting, and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”
Orellana told CPJ in a phone interview that Canelas was a well-known journalist in Olancho department, and had more than 30 years of experience working for outlets including Radio Catacamas, television channel HCH, and the newspaper El Heraldo.
Canelas founded Radio Bambi about 10 years ago, when he moved to Dulce Nombre de Culmí, Orellana said.
Orellana told CPJ that Canelas never mentioned receiving any threats, either personally or to the journalist’s association.
Since 1992, at least eight journalists have been murdered in Honduras in retaliation for their reporting, including two in 2020, according to CPJ research.