Reporters Without Borders condemns local TV reporter Adan Benítez’s murder in the northern port city of La Ceiba (the capital of Atlántida department) on 4 July. Employed by two local stations, 45TV and Teleceiba Canal 7, he was the second journalist to be murdered in Honduras in the past two months.
“Investigators should not rule out the possibility that Adan Benítez was killed in connection with his work,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Honduran authorities must do everything in their power to identify and prosecute those responsible for acts of violence against journalists. These crimes must not go unpunished.”
Benítez was stopped at gunpoint in the neighbourhood known as La Independencia by two gunmen who stripped him of his valuables before shooting him in the head. The police investigating the murder lost no time in identifying robbery as the motive.
At the time of his death, Benítez had been doing special reports for Teleceiba Canal 7 and 45TV. Aged 42, he had been a journalist for the past 15 years, previously working for two other local TV stations, Canal 14 and Canal 36, and for Radio Estéreo McIntosh 103.5 FM.
According to C-Libre, a Honduran press freedom organization, Benítez had described the activities of a gang specializing in stealing cars in a recent report for the 45TV programme “Diario de la Mañana” and had said he could identify those involved.
Prior to Benítez’s death, the most recent murder of a journalist was that Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco, current affairs programme coordinator for Omega Visión TV, who was murdered in the northern city of El Progreso on 10 May. No one has been arrested.
Benítez was the third journalist to be murdered in La Ceiba, one of the country’s most dangerous cities, since March 2010. These repeated killings reflect the vulnerability of journalists in Honduras.