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Two reporters assassinated in Honduras in one week

The Honduran press have lived through a day of fatalities, with a camera operator being shot in central Honduras and a radio host losing his life, along with a justice of the peace, in the western part of the country.

The daily newspaper Tiempo reported that the radio host and justice of the peace were assassinated in the municipality of Valladolid, Lempira department, western Honduras, on the afternoon of 23 April. According to the newspaper, the victims were identified as Jorge Pérez Alemán and Artemio Deras. Pérez Alemán was a justice of the peace in the municipality of La Virtud, while Deras worked for a catholic radio station. Witnesses said Pérez Alemán was driving to his home in Tomalá, with Deras as a passenger, when their vehicle was attacked and came under gunfire.

Camera operator assassinated

Meanwhile, 26-year-old camera operator Cristel Joctan López Bermúdez, who worked for Vica Televisión, was assassinated on the morning of 24 April in the neighbourhood of Lempira, in the city of Comayagüela, according to the El Heraldo daily newspaper. The newspaper noted that López Bermúdez had previously worked as an editor for Canal 6 television.

According to the newspaper report, at about 8:30 a.m. López Bermúdez was intercepted at gunpoint at a traffic light on 6th Avenue in Comayagüela by two individuals who demanded his motorcycle. It is presumed that the camera operator refused to hand over the motorcycle and was then shot. Witnesses said that after the shooting López Bermúdez's assailants attempted to take the motorcycle but were unable to start it.

Between 2 March and 25 April, C-Libre has documented six robberies of vehicles belonging to journalists or media outlets. The police have not investigated whether these crimes represent an indirect attempt to intimidate the media.

On 2 March, the press director for the Hable como Habla channel, Pablo Matamoros, was kidnapped and his car stolen. The vehicle was later recovered by the National Police.

Meanwhile, on 22 April, a vehicle driven by Efrén Bonilla, a reporter for the Tiempo daily, was stolen. On 23 April, El Heraldo reported that the vehicle, which belonged to the OPSA media group, had been recovered. The OPSA group includes several print media outlets, such as El Heraldo and La Prensa, among others.

In addition, on 25 April, it became known via social media, that unidentified individuals had stolen a motorcycle belonging to an employee in Tiempo's accounts department. Similarly, a motorcycle belonging to a Radio Globo reporter was stolen from the radio station's premises. According to journalists Héctor Amador and David Romero, the police still had not responded several hours after the theft was reported to emergency services.
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