Prominent Honduran radio journalist and critic of the country’s 2009 military coup Felix Molina has been wounded after suffering an assassination attempt on the eve of World Press Freedom Day and the two-month anniversary of the murder of another renowned Honduran figure, Indigenous leader Berta Caceres.
“I declare myself a survivor of the insecurity that the majority of the country faces,” Molina said in a statement released by the local human rights organization Cofadeh on Tuesday from the University School Hospital in Tegucigalpa where he is being treated for injuries from the attack.
Molina was the victim of a double attempt on his life on Monday. In the second attack, he received four bullet wounds, two in each leg, while taking a taxi in the capital city.
Photo: Facebook / Cofadeh
Hours earlier, he had reported on his Facebook account that two youth had pulled a gun on him while he rode in a taxi, asking him to hand over his phone. One of the attackers shouted at the other to shoot, but the driver sped away before the trigger was pulled.
Medical professionals reported that after receiving treatment, Molina’s life was not in danger due to the non-fatal location of the gunshot wounds.
“It is not my intention to speculate on this act, but with the repeat of the attack on the same day I think this was not a simple telephone theft but rather a direct attack against me,” Molina continued in his statement to rights defenders from the hospital, adding that he awaited a thorough and fair investigation. “If it is that, I am the most interested to know because I want to continue practicing journalism without fear, and continue living without fear.”
Human rights defenders were quick to point out that the attempt on Molina’s life was not an isolated event but part of the systematic repression and intimidation against activists and journalists that has sharply increased since the U.S.-backed military coup that hurled the country into crisis.
The human rights defense network of the western Honduran department of Lempira released a statement through Cofadeh holding the Honduran government responsible for the attack on Molina.
Human rights defender and prominent resistance activist Gilberto Rios wrote on social media that it is urgent to spread the news of the attack nationally and internationally.
“It is important that the world knows that is happening in Honduras everyday,” Rios wrote. “Freedom of expression is a precious right and there are not many journalists that identify with popular causes. No more assassinations of journalists!”
In the immediate aftermath of the 2009 U.S.-backed coup in Honduras, Molina was a pivotal source of information amid a media blackout around the coup and repression against massive protests taking over the streets. Through his radio program Resistencias, aired on Honduras’ Radio Globo, and other alternative media, he has reported on pro-democracy and resistance movements from the front lines of struggle, despite receiving death threats.
The human rights situation in Honduras has drastically deteriorated since the 2009 coup, and the country has become one of the most dangerous countries in the region for media workers, second only to Mexico.
Since the 2009 coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya, 59 journalists have been assassinated in Honduras. Four have been murdered since the beginning of 2016.
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