We write today to ask you to take action to denounce the brutal murder of Honduran journalist Carlos Mejía Orellana (pictured at right). Carlos was a leading member of Radio Progreso, a Jesuit-sponsored community radio station directed by Fr. Ismael Moreno (Padre Melo) in El Progeso, Honduras.
In its 2013 report on Honduras, the Committee to Protect Journalists noted: “The Honduran press continued to face violence and intimidation as the country struggled with pervasive crime and general lawlessness. Journalists who covered sensitive topics like drug trafficking, government corruption, and land conflicts were threatened and attacked."
Carlos Mejía Orellana was precisely one of those journalists with the courage to investigate and report on subjects that put himself and the team at Radio Progreso at risk. In fact, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had issued precautionary measures on four separate occasions over the last five years to protect the staff of Radio Progreso from death threats and intimidation.
However, on the night of April 11, Carlos was stabbed to death at his home. Padre Melo explained that the murder was far from a random attack against a citizen, but rather was a deliberate attempt to silence a brave journalist and institution that spoke out against human rights violations: “This criminal action against our team member Carlos Mejía Orellana is a blow to our work, our institution and we denounce this murder; it threatens our right to freedom of expression, communication, and the lives of each and every member of our team.”
Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA-2), Sam Farr (D-CA-20), and Janice Schakowsky (D-IL-9) have already released a statement calling for a full investigation and to bring the perpetrators of this terrible crime to justice; Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who worked as a volunteer with the Jesuits in Honduras in 1980-81, has done the same.
Please urge your congressperson to tell the Honduran government and the U.S. State Department that we need justice for the family and co-workers of Carlos Mejía Orellana and that attacks against journalists and human rights defenders must stop.
Use this link to send a message to Congress.
Use this link to write a message to the State Department.