Free press watchdogs blow whistle on Honduras media crackdown

July 24, 2009

Honduras continues to clamp down on the media one month after a coup shook the nation, international free press and freedom of speech organizations reported Tuesday.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued a statement condemning alleged censorship of media that have been critical of the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti.

“Respect for fundamental liberties, that of information among them, have been clearly trampled over during the past month,” the global free press watchdog said in the statement. “The suspensions or closures of audiovisual media, both local and international, give proof to the existence of a clear desire among the coup leaders to hide what is happening.”

Private radio network Radio Globo, RSF said, has taken particular heat allegedly for criticizing Micheletti, including “frequent interruptions” of its news broadcasting. On July 25, military personnel attempted to raid the station but were thwarted by a mob of protesters, according to the statement.

This followed an alleged crackdown on international media groups, particularly with the July 12 police detainment and expulsion of 11 journalists from Venezuelan media representatives Telesur and VTV. RSF reported that CNN Español and Cubavisión Internacional have also faced interruptions of their broadcasting since the June 28 ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.

“The situation for journalists in Honduras has deteriorated significantly,” Agnès Callamard, executive director of the U.K.-based human rights organization Article 19, told reporters Tuesday in Mexico City after visiting the Central American country over the weekend, according to the newswire EFE.

For Article 19, which defends and promotes freedom of expression and information worldwide, Honduran media have become starkly “polarized” amid the political standoff. The group considers only two national outlets – El Tiempo and Canal 11 – have maintained balanced reporting.

Rights groups agree the situation could worsen.

As RSF acknowledged, censorship hasn´t left media groups – which already appeared to lean largely in support of Zelaya´s return to power – with a favorable impression of Honduras ´ de facto government.

In another blow to the Micheletti administration, the U.S. State Department announced Tuesday it has revoked the diplomatic visas of four Honduran officials, which the U.S. government did not name as of Tuesday afternoon. The Associated Press cited a top Honduran foreign diplomat saying that Supreme Court Justice Tomás Arita – who signed the order for Zelaya´s arrest – and Congressional President José Alfredo Saavedro are among those whose visas were revoked.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

PeaceJam to host first Youth Summit in Costa Rica
Peace Talks
393 views
Peace Talks
393 views

PeaceJam to host first Youth Summit in Costa Rica

Alejandro Zúñiga - October 19, 2018

Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams will headline the first PeaceJam Youth Summit in Costa Rica next month. The event, scheduled…

The energy of sound
Pic of the Day
401 views
Pic of the Day
401 views

The energy of sound

Alissa Grosskopf - October 19, 2018

“Sound is vibration, vibration is energy and that energy is light,” said Costa Rican musician Carlos "Tapado" Vargas. Apart from…

Human rights defender Alvaro Leiva: ‘There is a permanent darkness in Nicaragua’
Nicaragua
716 views
Nicaragua
716 views

Human rights defender Alvaro Leiva: ‘There is a permanent darkness in Nicaragua’

Katherine Stanley - October 19, 2018

When Alvaro Leiva took the stage at a recent fundraiser for Nicaraguan refugees and immigrants in Costa Rica, all eyes…