It also expresses outrage over attack on politician/journalist in Colombia
Miami (May 16, 2012)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today joined other voices raised in outrage at the killing of journalist Alfredo Villatoro in Honduras, who had been kidnapped last week. The Association renewed its call on the authorities of this Central American country to take action to protect journalists and ensure press freedom.
Villatoro, coordinator of the “Diario Matutino” (Morning News) news program, broadcast by HRN radio in Tegucigalpa, was abducted on May 9. The journalist, known as one of the country’s most influential voices, had received death threats.
“We are indignant at the slow response, laxity and poor commitment on the part of the authorities that have failed to put an end to violence,” declared Gustavo Mohme, chair of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information. He offered his sympathy to Villatoro’s family and colleagues, whom he described as “collateral victims.”
The body of Villatoro, 47, was discovered last night on the outskirts of the Honduran capital, with several shots to the head. His killers had dressed him in a uniform belonging to a special police unit known at the Cobra Special Squad. His eyes, nose and mouth were covered with a red handkerchief, local media reported. Hours before the body was found, Honduras’ President Porfirio Lobo had stated that the journalist was alive, saying that his family received a video as proof.
Two days before the abduction of Villatoro, the body of Erick Martinez Ávila, journalist, gay community activist, and member of the National Resistance Front, was also discovered, although in this case there are doubts whether his death is linked to his work as a member of the press.
In another development, the IAPA condemned and scorned yesterday’s attack with explosives on Fernando Londoño Hoyos, journalist and former Minister of Interior and Justice (2002-2004) that occurred in Bogotá, Colombia. In this episode, Londoño"s driver and one of his bodyguards were killed, while 54 others, including Londoño, were injured.
While the motive for the assault was believed to have been political, the IAPA said that Londoño’s public activity as host of the newscast “Hora de la Verdad” (Time of Truth), broadcast by Radio Súper, and as columnist for the newspapers El Tiempo and La Patria, might have also played a role.
Londoño is in stable condition and recovering from his injuries. The attack is regarded as one of the most serious to have occurred in the Colombian capital since 2003.
Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, condemned the assault and expressed confidence that the authorities would be able to identify those responsible for this vile act of violence.