Mexico City, January 30, 2024—Honduran authorities must thoroughly investigate the killing of journalist Luis Alonso Teruel, determine if he was targeted for his work, and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
On the night of Sunday, January 28, Teruel was traveling in a vehicle with his 11-year-old son when two unidentified individuals intercepted him, took him out of the vehicle, and shot him multiple times in the northeast town of Atima in the department of Santa Bárbara.
Teruel, who hosted a political program on the local channel Pecaligüe TV, was still alive when police responded and took him to a local health center but died minutes later, those reports said.
Osvin Vega, the owner of Pecaligüe TV, told Honduran news website Proceso that he attributed the attacks to the reports Teruel and Pecaligüe’s team were doing on deforestation in the area.
“Honduran authorities should thoroughly investigate the killing of Luis Alonso Teruel and determine if it was related to his work as a journalist,” said Cristina Zahar, CPJ’s Latin America and the Caribbean program coordinator, in São Paulo. “The Honduran government must end the impunity that has prevailed in the killings of journalists for so many years by conducting a swift and credible investigation that identifies all of those responsible and brings them to justice.”
Amada Ponce, director of local press freedom group C-Libre, told AFP that the journalist was part of a family of “environmental defenders,” and he had been appointed two weeks prior as a peace judge in Atima, a role aimed at resolving disputes through non-formal means of conflict resolution. At least three environmental activists have been killed in Honduras since 2016, including Goldman Environmental Prize winner Berta Cáceres, according to a report by Reuters.
CPJ’s email to the Honduran security secretariat, charged with overseeing the police, did not receive any response.
Since 1992, at least eight journalists in Honduras have been murdered in connection with their work.