The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today voiced outrage at the murder of a radio journalist in Honduras, where at least 17 reporters have been slain since the start of last year.
Luz Marina Paz Villalobos, who worked with Cadena Hondureña de Noticias, and a man travelling with her in a car in the capital, Tegucigalpa, were shot dead on Tuesday by two men on a motorcycle.
The non-governmental organization (NGO) Reporters without Borders said that of the 17 journalists killed since the beginning of 2010, Ms. Paz Villalobos is the first woman.
In a statement, Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), condemned the killing – the latest in “the all-too-long list of Honduran journalists murdered” – and urged authorities in the Central American country to protect freedom of expression.
“I call on the authorities to take urgent action to bring the culprits of these crimes to justice and protect the basic human right of freedom of expression,” she said. “Violence must not be allowed to stifle informed democratic debate and rule of law.”
UNESCO, which began operations in 1946, is specifically mandated to defend freedom of expression and press freedom.