Saturday, July 11, 2009



Amid a continuing climate of media harassment after the coup, a
correspondent for Radio América was killed by an unidentified gunman on 3
July in northern Honduras, report Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre),
the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Wihout Borders
(RSF). Although the killing may not be linked to the crisis, press freedom
continues to suffer in the coup's aftermath, say the members.

Gabriel Fino Noriega, who also worked for Channel 9 and the local radio
station Estelar, was gunned down as he was leaving Estelar in San Juan
Pueblo, Atlántida, says C-Libre. Local police say he was shot at 11 times
and died en route to the hospital.

The political crisis following the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya on 29
June has seriously affected the press freedom climate in Honduras but CPJ
says initial reports have not connected the killing to the coup, according
to Honduran station Radio América.

However, the office of Radio América in Tegucigalpa was itself attacked
with explosives last week, and a grenade was thrown at Channel 11's
headquarters in the capital on 4 July, say C-Libre and RSF.

"We are under so much pressure that if we even make an error in the number
of people who are at a march we become the target of threats via messages
and phone calls. We are in a difficult situation unlike any we have
experienced before in our lives as journalists," said Nancy Jhon, a Channel
11 journalist.

Many of the stations that did not support the coup have been taken off the
air, forced to devote significant coverage to demonstrations in favour of
the new government, or harassed by the military.

Nahún Palacios, the director of Canal 5 TV, said that security forces
assaulted him and raided his station on 30 June, seizing his equipment and
destroying the facilities, after he broadcast images of pro-Zelaya
protests, reports C-Libre.

Palacios fears for his life. "Armed men grabbed my children, they raided my
home," he said. "In Honduras, we have lost the constitutional guarantees
afforded to citizens. A person is worth nothing. No one can talk about

Later, the armed forces called a meeting for local journalists and warned
them not to report on the coup.

Reporter Luis Galdamez, who hosts a show on the independent station Radio
Globo Honduras, is back on the air but the military told him not to
criticise the new government. According to, he refuses to
be silent, but he's scared. "I get death threats every day. I don't even
read my text messages anymore, they're so grotesque," he said.

International condemnation of the coup was swift and near-unanimous, as
countries moved to isolate the interim leadership. The Organisation of
American States passed a resolution on 4 July suspending Honduras from the

Zelaya tried to return to Honduras on 5 July. But the military blocked his
plane from landing and warded off more than 100,000 supporters. Two
protesters were killed and at least 10 were wounded in the clashes, reports
Human Rights Watch.

Related stories on
- Television director in Aguán another victim of assault on freedom of

More on the web:
- C-Libre blog:
- Media in coup storm (RSF):
- Evidence suggests soldiers shot into unarmed crowd (Human Rights Watch):
- No press freedom in post-coup Honduras (

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