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Honduras: No let-up for radio stations that opposed coup

There has a new surge in cases of harassment and censorship of Honduran journalists working for radio stations that have been outspoken in their criticism of the government since the June 2009 coup d'état, according to Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF).

Radio Uno, an educational station in the northern city of San Pedro Sula that has repeatedly criticised the regime, was forced off the air by an act of sabotage on the night of August 30. It has since been able to resume broadcasting amid much tension. Its staff has often been the target of violence and acts of intimidation including, on one occasion, the release of toxic gas inside its premises.

Radio Globo journalists Carlos Paz and Oswaldo Estrada were attacked and beaten by police in the capital, Tegucigalpa, on August 27 while covering the use of force to disperse a demonstration by teachers. The police smashed their equipment.

Another Radio Globo journalist, Mayke Antúnez, has meanwhile been the target of threats and intimidation since July, according to the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH). Antúnez blames the intimidation on the interview she had with former de facto President Roberto Micheletti two months ago in which she dared to ask him about his administration's record on human rights and civil liberties.

These latest violations of the right to report news and information show that the post-coup political status quo continues to have a disastrous impact on media freedom.

The conditional release on August 31 of Col José Arnulfo Jiménez, one of the officials responsible for the heavy-handed closures of Canal 36 TV, Radio Globo and Radio La Catracha at the time of the coup, does not bode well either. The three stations said they would appeal against this release, according to the Committee for Free Expression (C-Libre).

With nine journalists killed since the start of the year, Honduras continues to share joint status with Mexico as the western hemisphere's two most dangerous countries for the news media.

Date posted: September 6, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 136