José Arita

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

On November 25, 2019, two unidentified individuals shot journalist José Arita outside a convenience store in the city of Puerto Cortés, Honduras, according to Marlon Lagos, police chief of criminal investigations in the region, who spoke to CPJ via phone. Arita died at the scene, Lagos said.

Arita was killed shortly after he finished broadcasting “La Hora de la Verdad” (“The Hour of Truth”), a nightly political commentary show he hosted on local television broadcaster Puerto Visión, according to a report by Honduran daily El Heraldo.

Arita frequently discussed local politics in Puerto Cortés, and was critical of the Partido Nacional, the Honduran party that is in power nationally but is an opposition party in Puerto Cortés, according to a journalist who knew Arita and who spoke with CPJ on condition of anonymity, citing safety concerns.

Gustavo López, a colleague of Arita’s at Puerto Visión, told CPJ via phone that the journalist often received threatening calls while broadcasting his show.

“His program was a program for criticism, and he did sometimes receive threats on the calls he took in the show. The thing is, he didn’t take them seriously,” López said.

Arita also worked as a contractor, installing electricity grids in impoverished neighborhoods, according to the journalist who asked not to be named.

Lagos told CPJ on November 27 that police are investigating the case and said, “For now, we do not discard the possibility that his killing was linked to the work he did as a journalist.”

Honduran national police spokesperson Jair Meza told The Associated Press that “the killing could have been related to Arita’s work.”