The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the murder, in separate incidents, of two Honduran broadcast journalists: Nery Jeremías Orellana, shot down on 14 July, and TV reporter Adan Benítez who was killed on 4 July. The Director-General also called for a thorough investigation into these killings.
“I condemn the murder of Nery Jeremías Orellana and Adan Benítez,” the Director-General said. “The killing of journalists constitutes a crime against society as a whole. Democracy and rule of law require a free and independent press to nourish informed debate. I call on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of these crimes to ensure that everyone in the country is free to exercise their fundamental human right of freedom of expression without fearing for their lives.”
Nery Jeremías Orellana, 26, the manager of Radio Joconguera in the town of Candelaria, was gunned down on 14 July. Orellana was a member of the Broad Front of Popular Resistance (FARP) opposition movement and correspondent for Radio Progreso.
Adan Benítez, 42, was a reporter for two local broadcasters: 45TV and Teleceiba Canal 7. He was stopped by two gunmen who stripped him of his valuables before shooting him in the head in the northern port city of La Ceiba.
According to Reporters without Borders three journalists have been killed in Honduras this year alone. The press freedom organization has counted 12 killings of journalists in Honduras in the past 18 month.
UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”