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March 16, 2010
IAPA astounded at two new murders of journalists

The IAPA expressed consternation at the spiraling violence against the press in Honduras and Mexico where seven journalists have been murdered so far this year. The organization called for greater diligence and concern by authorities in both countries just days before starting its midyear meeting in Aruba.

The latest journalist killed in Honduras -- the third case this month – is Nahún Palacios, 33. Palacios, who had reported receiving death threats, was the news director for television channel Canal 5 in Aguán and host of a news program on Radio Tocoa on Honduras’ Atlantic coast. Palacios’ girlfriend and another person were seriously injured in the March 14 attack.

Palacios was the second journalist to be murdered in that region of the Central American country in less than a week, following the March 11th killing of David Meza; in the capital, Tegucigalpa, Joseph Hernández Ochoa was slain on March 1st. These are added to the unsolved murders of Bernardo Rivera Paz, Santiago Rafael Munguía and Gabriel Fino Noriega, all killed in Honduras in 2009.

In Mexico, where violence unleashed by organized crime is on the increase, Friday, March 12, witnessed the murder of Evaristo Pacheco Solís, a reporter with the weekly newspaper Visión Informativo in Chilpancingo, Guerrero. His was the fourth murder of a journalist so far this year in Mexico, bringing to 43 the total since 2005, 13 of which occurred in 2009. During the same period 15 journalists were reported missing, five recently in Tamaulipas. The whereabouts of all remain unknown.

IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre declared, “There can be no doubt that we face one of the most tragic moments in the history of the Latin American press.” Aguirre, editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, added that “the increase in violent acts clearly demonstrates that the governments concerned need to strengthen their investigative efforts as well as produce legal and judicial reforms to combat violence and this vicious circle of impunity.”

Robert Rivard, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, said, “There is tremendous frustration with the high level of violence among all the human rights and press freedom defense organizations.” Rivard, editor of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas, added that “the IAPA will continue its help by training journalists and media in high risk areas and continuing to pressure authorities to respond with urgency; each murder of a journalist is a crime against the people’s right to be informed.”

Aguirre and Rivard announced that the issue of violence against journalists and the strategies for halting it will be the principal topic at the IAPA’s Midyear Meeting in Aruba beginning this Friday, March 22.

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