August 6, 2012 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Son wounded in shooting attack on journalist’s home, no let-up in threats

Two armed men on a motorcycle opened fire on the home of José Encarnación Chinchilla, a reporter for the national commercial station Radio Cadena Voces, in El Progreso on 3 August. One of the nine-mm bullets seriously wounded one of his sons, José Alberto, but the rest of the family was unhurt. It was not the first attack on Chinchilla, who has been considering leaving the country, despite the fact that representatives of the national human rights commissioner propose to submit a request for protection on his behalf. “As in many cases in Honduras in recent months, the victim has complained about the sluggishness of the police response,” Reporters Without Borders said. “While this attack is being investigated, an inquiry must also be held into the serious systemic shortcomings of the police, which is itself at the heart of serious human rights violations. “The fight against impunity is dependent on a root-and-branch reform of the police and justice system. Most killings of journalists, lawyers, rights activists and protest leaders have never been resolved. In the past decade, 29 journalists have been killed in Honduras, 24 of them since the coup in June 2009.” Reporters Without Borders is also concerned about recent police intimidation of the station Radio Progreso, also located in El Progreso, over its coverage of agrarian conflicts in the region (audio). Radio Progreso was the first news independent organization to suffer the consequences of the 2009 coup. Ariel D’Vicente, a journalist and owner of the local television station Canal 21 in Choluteca, has been given “protected witness” status after his revelations about a serious case of corruption which forced the finance minister, Hector Guillen, to resign on 2 August. The journalist made mention of the source of a large sum of money seized by the police from the minister’s wife. A total of more than 3 million lempiras (125 000 euros) was reported to have been misappropriated by fishing companies in the region to the benefit of a senior official in the present government. The journalist remains in fear of his life.