December 15, 2018

Press Freedom

Honduras

Honduras May 27, 2011

H.E Porfirio Lobo Sosa
President
Casa Presidencial
Tegucigalpa
Republic of Honduras
Fax:  (011.504) 37.85.21

Your Excellency:

Two more media figures, a TV news program host and the owner of a TV station, have been murdered in Honduras within the space of a week, bringing the number of journalists killed in Honduras since March of 2010 to a total of 11.  Thus, Honduras is out-stripping even Mexico in the slaughter of journalists who are performing the duty of telling the truth.

We of the Overseas Press Club of America, which has been defending the freedom of the press in all parts of the world for seven decades, join the Inter-American Press Association in urging you to take special measures to prosecute the murderers and to protect the journalists who continue courageously to perform their duty.  As far as we know, none of these murders has been solved.  What is particularly alarming is that at least some of these attacks may have been perpetrated by local officials, or the police, or the military, who should be defending the press.

In addition to the recent deaths of Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco of the TV station, Omega Visión, and of Luis Mendoza, owner of Canal 24 in El Paraíso, there have been other attacks and attempted assassinations of journalists recently.  On May 23, gunmen fired at Manuel Acosta Medina, general manager of La Tribuna in Tegucigalpa, hitting him four times, but he survived.  On May 7, Uriel Rodriguez, a cameraman for Globo TV, was severely beaten by police while covering a student demonstration.  He had already been injured in the leg by rubber bullets fired by the police earlier in the year.  Arnulfo Aguilar, director of Radio Uno in San Pedro Sula, was ambushed in March outside his home by a group of men he said belonged to the Army.  In the same month, Franklin Meléndez, the head of a community radio station, La Voz de Zacate Grande, was shot and wounded by a man who identified himself as the ally of a landowner.  The list goes on.

To the extent that there is a pattern to these attacks, it seems that the victims were working to uncover corruption in local governments and the police, and to uncover illegal land deals. That, of course, is precisely what good journalists should do and is the reason for laws and agreements protecting the freedom of the press, including the Declaration of Chapultepec, which you signed after assuming office.  We urge you to defend this vital freedom.

Respectfully yours,

Jeremy Main
Larry Martz
Freedom of the Press Committee

 

cc:

H.E. José Ramón Hernández Alcerro
Ambassador of Honduras to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Republic of Honduras
3007 Tilden Street, NW
Washington, D.C.  20008
Fax: (202) 966.9751

Ambassador Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Honduras to the United Nations
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 417
New York, N.Y.  10017
Fax: (212) 223.0498

H.E. Hugo Llorena
U.S. Ambassador to Honduras
Embassy of the United States of America
Avenida La Paz
Tegucigalpa M.D.C.
Honduras
Fax: (011.504) 236.9037

Director
Radio America
Tegucigalpa
Honduras
Fax: (011.504) 232.2923

Director
Diario Tiempo
Web.tiempo@continental.hn

Osman Lopez
Presidente
Comité por la Libre Expresión
Tegucigalpa, M.D.C.
Honduras
clibre (@) clibre.info

Maria Otero
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C.  20520