Gunmen kill Honduran journalist who criticized government and landowners

Journalist Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco, who reported on land conflicts with ranchers and alleged corruption in the northwestern city of Morazán, became at least the 12th journalist killed in the past 18 months in Honduras, the Associated Press reports.

Medina, a TV reporter for Canal 9, was shot on May 10 by two men on a motorcycle near his home, El Heraldo explains. He died on May 11 as a result of the bullet wounds.

According to Reporters without Borders (RSF), Medina had been previously threatened for his remarks criticizing wealth landowners and was killed “almost certainly” for his journalistic work. In another AP article, the vice president of Honduras’ Guild of Journalists, Santos Gálvez echoed this sentiment: “Medina had received death threats, which he had previously reported to the authorities. He also reported on illegal activities by the local government and ranchers in his area.”

La Prensa reports that the media worker’s family has asked the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to take action on the case.

Since January 2009, between 12 and 16 journalists have been killed in Honduras.

A recent Freedom House report downgraded Honduras’ press freedom rating to “not free,” while an Interantional Press Institute (IPI) report said that Mexico and Honduras were, behind Pakistan, the most dangerous countries for the press in 2010, and they accounted for 22 of the 32 journalists killed in the Americas that year.

Other Related Headlines:
» Knight Center (Reports reaffirm dangers faced by the press in Latin American in 2010 and 2011)
» Committee to Protect Journalists (Provincial TV news host gunned down in Honduras)

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.