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Honduran journalist attacked twice in one day says he is thinking of leaving the country

Honduran journalist Félix Molina who was attacked twice in one day on May 2 has said he is considering leaving the country.

Early in the afternoon on May 2, radio journalist Molina wrote on Facebook about the first assault that happened while he was in a taxi in Tegucigalpa. He said an armed woman pointed a gun at him and a man demanded his phone before telling the woman to shoot. According to his statement, the cab driver pulled away and they escaped.

Later in the evening, he was shot twice in both legs while riding in a taxi in the same location as the earlier assault. The bullets did not hit any “delicate structures,” only muscles, Tiempo quoted doctors as saying.

A spokesman at the hospital where Molina was taken said that the journalist asked for increased security in the emergency room and said he felt persecuted by unknown people, according to El Heraldo.

In a letter dated May 4, Molina said “I consider it prudent to think about the options that people and governments have suggested for me to recover my full physical and emotional states, within or outside the country,” as reported by Tiempo. The journalist has since been released from the hospital, the news site added.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF for its initials in French) said he is the director of community media organization Alter Eco and formerly hosted Resistencia on Radio Globo and Radio Progreso.

The International Press Institute (IPI) said “his pro-democracy radio program Resistencia was one of the only sources of independent information amid a media blackout. Molina has also reportedly received multiple death threats.”

The organization called on the government for a full investigation of Molina’s case and the cases of other journalists. IPI said “at least 29 journalists have died in Honduras in connection with their work since 2009.”

Honduran freedom of expression organization C-Libre said the journalist’s name is on a list “that contains the names of journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders, artists and political leaders of the opposition, of which military intelligence created  profiles for the purpose of threatening their lives.” The organization said activist Berta Cáceres, who was killed in March of this year, was also on the list that was revealed by C-Libre in 2013.

C-Libre also said the attack on Molina “occurs in the month dedicated to journalists in Honduras, with a clear intention to generate greater psychological impact and intimidation.”

The organization urged the state to protect his life, investigate the case and punish those responsible.

RSF also condemned the attempt on Molina’s life and said “the law on the protection of journalists, that was voted a year ago, must be implemented at once in order to end the spiral of violence that has been afflicting Honduras and its journalists for too many years.”

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.

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