The Central American nation and current homicide rate capital of the world is also the most dangerous environment for reporters, according to a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
The report, published on Monday, listed the deaths of 150 journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean from 2010 to its publication date. IACHR said that these murders were “allegedly for reasons related to the exercise of freedom of expression, because they informed, discussed or commented on events and situations that were happening in their community.”
Though Mexico claimed the most lives at 55, it has more than 15 times the population of Honduras, where 28 journalists were killed. This means that journalists in Honduras were killed at a rate eight times higher than in Mexico.
No other country in the region comes close to Honduras’ rate, according to a Latin Correspondent analysis of IACHR’s data. For every 100,000 citizens, there were 0.36 murders of a journalist during this period in Honduras. The second and third place countries have a rate of 0.06 murders.
Compare the results below:
One caveat on comparing countries: In the smallest countries, such as Paraguay, a small change in journalists killed could greatly impact its relative rate.
Working in the murder capital of the world
As of 2009 Honduras has had the highest overall homicide rate in the world, passing its southern neighbor, El Salvador, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Other high overall homicide countries also topped the list, such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.
One fallen journalist highlighted by IACHR was Honduran Reynaldo Paz Mayes, 48, an owner of a television news channel. Paz Mayes was shot twice in the back in December 2014, while exercising at a sports center in his hometown of Comayagua, according to local media reports.
Paz Mayes was a public critic of Honduras’ current government on his new channel and a supporter of the opposition LIBRE party, according to the Honduran daily El Heraldo. His wife, Liliana Cecilia Zepeda, told El Heraldo that Paz Mayes had received death threats.
“They told him in on-air calls that he will stop talking… that because of those [statements] there will be deaths, but he continued to defend good causes,” Zepeda said.
Honduras’ government created a special investigative unit for Paz Mayes at the time, according to local reports, however, a search of Honduran media revealed no reports of arrested suspects. According to daily La Prensa, 46 journalists or media professional were murdered in the past 12 years and 45 of those cases have failed to punish the culprits.
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