The IPI global network is deeply saddened over the killing of Honduran journalist Ricardo Alcides Ávila, who was shot on May 26 on his way to work. Ávila died of his injuries on May 29. IPI demands that the Honduran government conduct a thorough investigation into this case and bring those responsible to justice.

Ávila was a journalist and cameraman for the local station Metro TV in Choluteca, a city south of the capital, Tegucigalpa, and reported on social movements in Choluteca, according to reports.

He was riding his motorcycle to work through Santa Cruz village when he was shot in the head by an unidentified person. He died of his injuries in a hospital in Tegucigalpa a few days later.

The police called the incident a robbery attempt, but in a press release, C-Libre, an organization promoting freedom of expression, maintains the motive was not robbery and Ávila was intentionally targeted because of his profession. Days before the attack, Ávila changed his cellphone number because he believed his phone was hacked. His money and valuables had not been stolen when he was found and taken to the hospital.

“We are shocked by the news of the death of journalist Ricardo Alcides Ávila, and we urge Honduran authorities to swiftly investigate this case in order to determine who is responsible and whether the journalist was intentionally targeted in retaliation for his work ”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said. “This news spotlights the vulnerability of journalists in Honduras, who are often persecuted and threatened as a result of their profession.”

The press freedom crisis in Honduras has deteriorated since the 2009 military coup against President Manuel Zelaya, and in the decade that followed, at least 40 have been killed for doing their job, according to IPI’s Death Watch. Honduran journalists have been facing increasing threats, attacks, and intimidation, making the country one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist.