Director-General alarmed by wave of journalist assassinations in Honduras after murder of Alfredo Villatoro

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today denounced the killing of Alfredo Villatoro, a renowned radio journalist who was found dead on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduras on May 15.

“News of the murder of Alfredo Villatoro—less than one week after the assassination of fellow journalist Erick Martinez Villa—is deeply alarming and reflects the dangerous conditions faced by Honduran reporters,” said the Director-General. “Mr. Villatoro’s death undermines the right of the people of Honduras to be informed. Every attempt must be made to bring his killers to justice.”

Villatoro, a presenter at the HRN radio station, had repeatedly received death threats prior to his abduction on 9 May. Less than a week later, the journalist’s body was found outside the capital.

This marks the third Honduran journalist to be murdered within a few weeks. A total of 20 journalists and media workers have been killed in Honduras since 2009. They are listed on the dedicated webpage UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.

Honduras is among the most dangerous countries in the hemisphere for journalists, alongside Mexico and Colombia.


Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”