The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today spoke out against the murders of two radio journalists ambushed last week, bringing the total number of media professionals killed in the Central American nation last month alone to five.
As JosÃ© Bayardo Mairena and Manuel JuÃ¡rez, who worked for the radio stations ExcÃ©lsior and Super 10, drove from hosting a radio programme in Catacamas, in eastern Honduras, their car was sprayed with bullets by unidentified armed men, according to reports.
Such despicable crimes against media professionals undermine the fundamental right of freedom of information, cornerstone of a democratic society, " said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Also killed last month were journalist NahÃºm Palacios Arteaga in Tocoa on 14 March; radio reporter David Meza on 11 March in La Ceiba; and, on 1 March, reporter Joseph HernÃ¡ndez Ochoa in Tegucigalpa, in a shooting that seriously wounded another journalist.
I call on the Honduran authorities to make every possible effort to arrest the perpetrators and put an end to this unprecedented and intolerable wave of violence, " Ms. Bokova said.
Reporters Without Borders, a non-governmental organization (NGO), has said that Honduras and Mexico are now the deadliest countries by far for journalists working in the Western Hemisphere.
A new report issued by UNESCO last week found that rising numbers of journalists are being killed worldwide, mostly in countries that are at peace, calling for an end to impunity in the murders of media professionals.
Last year set a new record, with 77 murders reported by the agency. The high number is due in part to the murder of some 30 journalists in one day during an ambush in the Philippines on 23 November 2009, the publication says.
Sadly, the frequency of acts of violence against journalists is increasing, " it notes. In most cases, impunity precludes the way of justice, and if this trend prevails, journalists will remain easy targets.
Needless to say this represents a severe threat to freedom of expression and to our ability to seek the truth. "