Honduran journalist Luz Marina Paz Villalobos, 38, was shot and killed in the capital of Tegucigalpa on Tuesday (December 6). Delmer Osmar Canales Gutiérrez, a cousin who worked as her driver, was also killed in the attack. Paz and Canales were driving near the journalist's home on Tuesday morning when unidentified gunmen on motorcycles fired on the car at least 37 times, according to AP.
Paz, 38, was the host of the morning news program "3 en la noticia" (Three on the News) on the Honduran News Network radio station. Previously, she had worked for Radio Globo, a radio station known for its criticism of the 2009 ouster of former President Manuel Zelaya.
COMMENT: Although Paz' journalism will be carefully examined for a motive for the attack on her and Canales, there are also indications that the journalist had received threats related to her refusal to cooperate with criminals trying to extort money from a small business she ran.
Earlier this week, the offices of a leading Honduran daily, La Tribuna, were fired at, seriously wounding a security guard. The newspaper had published a statement the previous month saying its staff had been targeted with attempted shootings, threats, and harassment in reprisal for critical reporting. Twelve Honduran journalists have been murdered since March 2010, at least three in direct reprisal for their work.
According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (http://www.cpj.org), A 2010 CPJ report found a pattern of negligent investigative work into the murders of journalists.
Paz is the 17th journalist killed in the Central American nation since a 2009 coup.
By the end of 2011, Honduras is likely to have the highest murder rate in the world – 86 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Violence Observatory in Tegucigalpa, a UN-backed monitor.