Reporters Without Borders

Journalist who supported ousted president becomes 15th killed in 18 months

Journalist who supported ousted president becomes 15th killed in 18 months

Published on Saturday 10 September 2011.
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Medardo Flores, a radio journalist who supported former President Manuel Zelaya, was gunned down on the night of 8 September, joining the long list of journalists who have been killed since Zelaya’s ouster in a June 2009 coup. Employed by Radio Uno in San Pedro Sula, he was slain in an ambush near his home in the Caribbean coast city of Puerto Cortés.

Regional finance manager of the pro-Zelaya Broad Front for Popular Resistance (FARP), Flores was shot just two days after another leading FARP figure, Emo Sadloo, was slain. Zelaya was allowed to return to Honduras in May.

Flores’ death brings the number of Honduran journalists killed in the past 18 months to 15. A media owner was also killed. None of these murders has been solved.

“It will be very hard for the authorities to rule out the possibility that Flores was killed for political reasons or because of his work as a journalist,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Aside from being a FARP member, he worked for a radio station that supports Zelaya so he was doubly exposed. Honduras is one of the hemisphere’s most dangerous countries for the media and its journalists are again in mourning.

“Flores’ murder is very worrying for the future of the process begun by the Cartagena accords and Honduras’ readmission to the Organization of American States. What progress has it brought in terms of respect for human rights and civil liberties? We cannot wait to know what explanation the authorities will give to the UN special rapporteur for human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, who is to visit Honduras from 27 September to 4 October.”

Radio Uno has often been the target of harassment and raids by the police and army since the coup. Its founder and manager, Arnulfo Aguilar, narrowly escaped an armed ambush outside his home on 27 April.

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