Another Honduran journalists killed — motive unknown

Another journalist was killed in Honduras over the weekend. (18th journalist killed in Honduras in past two years)

This takes to 18 the number of journalists who have been killed in Honduras in the past 2 years.

With only that information, one would think there is a war on against journalists. And there may very well be one but there is no proof. (Just ask the Committee to Protect Journalists.)

The problem in Honduras is that the legal system is weak, witnesses are afraid to come forward and Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world.

Because of the inability (more than unwillingness) of the Honduran police and judicial system to investigate the murders of journalists — and lawyers and carpenters and students and shop owners — we will never know if the killings are related to the journalists’ work.

In the cases of many of the journalist killings a better case of “wrong place, wrong time” can be made. Was a journalist killed in a bar because he was a journalist or because also in the bar was some one who had offended some one else. (Guns remain the method of choice to right wrongs.)

One murder is too many. And Honduras is a violent society where a firearm is the preferred method of revenge. (Especially given the weak legal system, the father, husband or brother of a rape victim knows that they will find no justice in the system.)

To say that every killing of a journalist is related to a war on the media is just wrong. The facts do not bear this out.

But why let facts get in the way of a political agenda. And unfortunately, that is what we see happening more in Honduras. Rather than work to repair a bad system, a number of groups in and out of Honduras are using the killings of journalists as a means to politically weaken the current Honduran government.

So let’s all take a deep breath and look at the circumstances surrounding the killings of the journalists in Honduras and other countries. As I told my journalism students: Context and accuracy are the most import things a good reporter brings to a story.

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