Press groups urge probe of Honduras reporter slay

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) -- Press freedom groups on Tuesday urged Honduran authorities to thoroughly investigate the slaying of a broadcast journalist who was shot to death outside his home last week.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned Nery Soto Torres' killing and urged authorities to launch a full investigation and punish those responsible.

"Authorities must fully investigate the murder of Nery Francisco Soto Torres, including the possibility of a link to his reporting, and bring those responsible to justice," the group's deputy director, Robert Mahoney, said in a statement.

Two gunmen waiting on motorcycles shot Soto Torres to death Thursday as he arrived home in the city of Olanchito, in northern Yoro state, police said.

The 32-year-old journalist directed and hosted a news program on Olanchito's Channel 23.

Two of Soto Torres' colleagues told the Committee to Protect Journalists that the reporter was well-liked and respected and that he was careful not to be confrontational or to cross any lines in his reporting.

Colleagues of the journalist marched in Olanchito on Tuesday to urge action by the government. "We demand to the authorities that this murder not go unpunished," said Miguel Romero, president of the town's Association of Journalists.

Honduras' top prosecutor, Wilberto Sanchez, said a motive in the killing has not been determined.

"We're still investigating if Soto's death was due to a robbery, animosities or his journalism, but there nothing is clear about it," Sanchez said.

At least 46 journalists, broadcasters and media executives have been killed in Honduras since 2003. The bulk of the crimes remain unsolved.

"The authorities must take urgent action and must give themselves the necessary resources to end the impunity prevailing in most of these crimes, which affect those who dare to investigate sensitive news stories," Camille Soulier, head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk, said in a statement.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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