Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mexico: ARTICLE 19 Submission to UN Human Rights Committee

Mexico: ARTICLE 19 Submission to UN Human Rights Committee

ARTICLE 19 has called attention to key freedom of expression issues in Mexico, including the State’s failure to protect journalist and human rights defenders from attacks, and a broadcasting system that fails to promote public interest broadcasting. These concerns are contained in a written Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) for consideration at its 96th session in Geneva from 13-31 July 2009. ARTICLE 19’s Submission is due to be read in conjunction with the Government of Mexico’s fifth periodic report to the HRC, under the provisions of Article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

ARTICLE 19’s Submission highlights the following concerns:

  1. Violence against those who exercise their right to freedom of expression is increasing throughout the country and there is a lack of adequate rules and institutions to address these attacks, leading to a prevailing climate of impunity.
  2. There is an inadequate framework for broadcast regulation, which lacks independence from government, does not foster pluralism in the airwaves and has failed to prevent monopolies in the media.
  3. A prevalence of obstacles exists in relation to implementation of the right to information law, particularly at the local and state level.
  4. Criminal defamation laws continue to exist in 21 of the 32 Mexican states.

ARTICLE 19’s key recommendations to the Mexican government are:

  • Effective measures should be put in place to respond to attacks – which are carried out in order to limit freedom of expression – on journalists and others. Investigations into attacks should be undertaken by federal powers and it is important to promote the federalisation of these investigations. The Special Prosecutor’s Office for the Attention of Crimes against Journalists (FEADP) should also be strengthened so that it is able to investigate and take action against attacks.
  • The legal framework for broadcasting should be fundamentally revised to bring it into line with international standards in this area, including by imposing limits on the concentration of media ownership and by enabling community and independent public service broadcasting.
  • All right to information laws in Mexico, at the state and federal levels, should be amended to bring them into line with Article 6 of the Constitution, guaranteeing the right to information. This article must also be respected in practice, when implementing these laws.
  • Defamation should be fully decriminalised in all Mexican states. Civil defamation rules should place the onus on public officials to prove the falsity of allegations of fact, should require public officials to tolerate a greater degree of criticism, and should impose overall limits on damage awards.


• For more information please contact: Cynthia Cárdenas, Legal Adviser,, +52 55 10546500.
• ARTICLE 19’s Submission to the Mexico Country Report Task Force of the Human Rights Committee is available at:
• The Government of Mexico presented its report to the Human Rights Committee in compliance with Article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), in September 2008. Article 40 stipulates that States Parties to the Covenant must submit reports on the measures they have adopted to give effect to the rights recognised by the ICCPR.

Azerbaijan: Civil Society and the Media Out of Immediate Danger?

Azerbaijan: Civil Society and the Media Out of Immediate Danger?

ARTICLE 19 welcomes a decision on 30 June by the parliament of Azerbaijan, the Milli Mejlis, not to adopt the most restrictive proposals in a package of legislative amendments governing civil society and media. However, questions remain as to why these restrictive amendments were proposed in the first place, why some were adopted, and why members of civil society who demonstrated against the amendments were harassed.

Demonstrators, protesting against the adoption of the amendments yesterday, ahead of the parliamentary session in Baku, were not allowed to march towards parliament. They had their placards forcefully taken away, reportedly by plain-clothes national security officers. A previous demonstration on 10 May 2009 also saw members of the public beaten by police and approximately 50 peaceful demonstrators were detained for a number of hours on that day. ARTICLE 19 believes that these incidents are clear infringements of the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Civil society and independent media organisations have cautiously celebrated the outcome of yesterday’s extraordinary session of the Milli Mejlis, which could have led to the imposition of severe restrictions on their establishment and funding. But they remain concerned that some amendments, which have been adopted, retain restrictive provisions such as those concerning financial reporting and registration of foreign non-governmental organisations. It is unclear why these amendments were adopted and there are concerns about their implementation.

Azerbaijan has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which guarantees the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly. ARTICLE 19 urges the Azerbaijani government to respect and uphold these rights, cornerstone to human rights protection.


• For more information please contact: Nathalie Losekoot, Senior Programme Officer, Europe at or +44 207 324 2509

Artist Alert June 2009

Artist Alert
June 2009

Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and seeks to more effectively promote and defend freedom to create.

Since ARTICLE 19 published a report in 2005 entitled Art, Religion and Hatred; Religious Intolerance in Russia and its Effects on Art, artistic expression in Russia remains stifled and artists self-censor their work.

There is no specific law that explicitly bans artists in Russia from exploring certain issues, but in practice artists are harassed, detained and charged for breaching various loosely-defined laws, such as the 2002 law that was established to prohibit expression of nationalist extremism. Police and security services can use vague legislation such as the 2002 law, as well as legal loopholes to instantaneously arrest and detain artists and close down exhibitions.

Russia: artist arrested for collage of Putin

Well-known and influential Russian artist Alexander Shchednov was arrested on June 11 by the FSB whilst displaying a collage in an exhibition in the city of Voronezh.

The collage which depicts the coy-looking head of prime minister Vladimir Putin on the top of a woman’s body, has written on it: “Oh I don't know ... a third presidential ... it's too much, on the other hand .”

Shchednov was arrested whilst attempting to hang the collage, and claims that he was questioned and abused for seven hours before being charged with “uncensored swearing in a public place”.

Russia: trial of curators facing five years imprisonment starts

The trial of Yury Samodurov and Andrey Erofeev for organising an exhibition entitled “Forbidden Art 2006” at the Andrei Sakharov Museum has resumed two years after the nationalist religious organisation, Narodnyj Sobor, submitted a formal complaint.

Samodurov and Erofeev face five years in prison on charges of inciting religious and ethnic hatred under Article 282 of the Russian Penal Code. Examples of some of the art works exhibited included a crucified Lenin and Mickey Mouse as Jesus. Incitement legislation is widely used in Russia to suppress dissent and criticism of government.

Turkey: growing religious conservatism threatens free expression

Turkish author Nedim Gursel believes that increasing religious conservatism is undermining freedom of expression in Turkey in the count down to its European Union candidacy.

In 2009 a Turkish court allowed a case to be brought against Gursel for “insulting religion” and “inciting hatred”. Although Turkey is infamous for charging many authors, including Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, under laws that criminalise insulting “Turkishness”, Gursel argues that increasingly it is the religious establishment that is becoming the bigger threat against freedom of expression.

Gursel is on trial for his book “The Daughters of Allah” against which a case was brought earlier in 2009 on the charges of insulting religion and inciting hatred. The book describes a fictional interpretation of the Prophet Mohammad and his life and joins a number of other publications that are indicted with insulting “Turkishness”.

China: bird’s nest architect under increasing censorship attempts

The designer of the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium, Ai Weiwei, has come under increasing state censorship since the end of the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. Ai’s blog was shut down by China’s biggest news portal Sina in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen protests, after he had allegedly refused authorities’ requests not to write anything about the anniversary.

Ai had also asserted in his blog that Chinese security officers were following him and intimidating his family, friends and colleagues, including his 76-year-old mother.

A highly regarded designer and artist, Ai gave the Chinese authorities grounds for disapproval after he began a campaign to expose the reasons why so many schools collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Mexico: assault of political cartoonist

Prominent political cartoonist Mario Robles from the newspaper Noticias Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca was violently assaulted and subjected to death threats in late April by members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which controls the Oaxaca state government.

Cartoons serve a specific purpose in political commentary and can often be more influential, further reaching and create a larger impression than written words. Attacking a cartoonist not only impacts on Robles, but also censors political commentary and denies citizens an opportunity to receive information.

Robles has been a political cartoonist for 30 years and has won the state journalistic award six times. In an interview with ARTICLE 19 Robles asserts that two party campaigners attacked and kicked him repeatedly before warning him that he needed to “modify his cartoons” or they would kill him and his family.

Iran: censorship of book industry pervasive

According to an International Publishers Association investigation, since the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005, censorship within the Iranian publishing industry is clearly on the rise, with decisions about what gets published becoming more unpredictable, uncertain and arbitrary.

Although the number of titles is slowly rising, the average print run is now only 3,000 compared to an average of 10,000 in the 1970s. This is entirely due to censorship. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (MCIG) never officially bans books. Rather, if an author does not hear within two years, they understand that their manuscript has been rejected.

In Iran, an author must obtain permission to print from the MCIG and a licensed publisher must obtain separate permission to distribute. In some cases the author gains permission to print, but the publisher does not gain permission to distribute.


• For more information: please contact Oliver Spencer,, +44 20 7324 2500

Brazil: Journalist Luiz Flavio Pinto Ordered to Pay US$15,000 for Defamation

Brazil: Journalist Luiz Flavio Pinto Ordered to Pay US$15,000 for Defamation

The Superior Court of the State of Para, in the north of Brazil, ordered journalist Luiz Flavio Pinto to pay approximately US$15,000 for defaming Romulo Maionara, a deceased local businessman.

In the case, Romulo Maionara Jr and Ronaldo Maionara accused Pinto of offending the honour and reputation of their father, a businessman who built the main media group in the region, Grupo Liberal for an article published in Jornal Pessoal, which Pinto runs, in 2005 which claimed that Romulo Maionara was involved in smuggling activities in the 1950s and 1970s. Pinto argued before the court that he was not the first to make these allegations, and presented copies of documents he believes prove that his allegations are general knowledge and also accurate. According to Pinto, such activities were commonplace in the isolated state of Para at that time.

According to Pinto’s calculations, the damage award, which together with legal fees may amount to US$20,000, is equivalent to more than a year of the newspaper's gross income. The Court also ordered Jornal Pessoal to publish a note drafted by the Maionara brothers in full, and forbade Jornal Pessoal from again publishing any statement that could be considered aggressive, defamatory, calumnious or slanderous in relation to Romulo Maionara and his two sons, or face a further US$15,000 penalty.

Pinto, who has 42 years of experience in reporting on environmental devastation and corruption in the Amazon, has in the past been the victim of death threats, physical attacks and dozens of civil and criminal defamation lawsuits. He currently faces 14 other lawsuits filed by the Maionara brothers. ARTICLE 19 is concerned about this decision, which involves allegations of high public interest. The decision fails to elaborate on the basis for finding Pinto’s allegations to be false and does not address the documents presented by Pinto in his defence.

ARTICLE 19 is of the view that in cases involving matters of public interest, the plaintiff should be required to prove the falsity of their allegations. ARTICLE 19’s research indicates that the civil defamation provisions is open to abuse and we have previously expressed concern about the lack of clear standards for civil defamation in Brazil, including as to the size of damage awards. ARTICLE 19 calls on the Brazilian authorities to amend the rules on civil defamation so that they are clear and respect international standards, including as to the burden of proof in cases involving matters of public interest. We also call on the authorities to decriminalise defamation and related crimes.


• For more information: please contact Paula Martins,, +55 11 3057 0042



A leading editor who reported on corruption in southwestern Russia
succumbed to head injuries he suffered in an attack in April, report the
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Vyacheslav Yaroshenko, editor-in-chief of the independent Rostov-on-Don
newspaper "Korruptsiya i Prestupnost" (Corruption and Crime), was found
unconscious with a head wound in the entrance of his apartment building on
30 April. He was hospitalised with skull and brain trauma, underwent
surgery, and spent five days in a coma, his deputy, Sergei Sleptsov, told
CPJ at the time.

On 29 June, Yaroshenko was operated on again, but did not survive.

According to CPJ, Sleptsov said he believes Yaroshenko was attacked in
retaliation for his newspaper's work. In the weeks before the incident,
"Korruptsiya i Prestupnost" had reported on corruption allegations
involving Rostov law enforcement agencies. "I don't have even the smallest
doubt," Sleptsov told the opposition news website Kasparov. "Our newspaper
was published on eight pages; seven of them were allotted to corruption in
the law enforcement structures."

Rostov law enforcement officials have given conflicting accounts of what
happened to Yaroshenko in April, first saying that he was injured in a
street fight, then later that he hurt himself by falling down the stairs in
his apartment building. According to Sleptsov, they had immediately ruled
out criminality.

Sleptsov said that the paper is carrying out its own investigation into the
editor's death.

Russia is the third deadliest country in the world for journalists and the
ninth worst in solving reporters' killings, according to CPJ. In a 25 June
letter, CPJ urged U.S. President Barack Obama to address the pressing issue
of impunity in violent crimes against the press when he meets with Russian
President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow this week.

Meanwhile, Russia's Supreme Court has overturned the acquittals of three
men accused of involvement in the October 2006 murder of reporter Anna
Politkovskaya, allegedly because of procedural violations during the trial,
reports CPJ.

Related stories on
- Independent editor dies in hospital:
- Obama should address Russian impunity in upcoming summit, says CPJ
- Supreme Court orders retrial in Politkovskaya murder:

More on the web:
- Shock at death of newspaper editor who was badly beaten two months ago



Sri Lanka is planning to revive the now defunct Press Council amid
continuing tension between the authorities and independent newspapers,
report the Free Media Movement (FMM), the Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Reporters
Without Borders (RSF).

Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena confirmed on 24 June that the
government plans to resurrect the council, which was created in 1973 but
suspended in 2002.

The council has the powers to heavily fine journalists and publishers and
send them to prison. According to IFJ, the council can also prohibit some
content, such as internal government communications and stories that might
be deemed "prejudicial to national security."

"Sri Lanka was one of the first countries in Asia to decriminalise press
offences. Now the government wants to turn the clock back and impose
controls that that will be a permanent threat hanging over the media," said

According to CPJ, eight Sri Lankan media rights groups, including IFEX
member FMM, wrote a letter last week to President Mahinda Rajapaksa
condemning the council's comeback. "A media culture cannot be based on
slapping charges against journalists, fining them or sending them to jail.
Instead the modern world has accepted a self-regulatory mechanism by media
persons as the way forward," they wrote. The letter reminded the President
that he had himself defended the decriminalisation of press offences to
parliament in 2002.

According to RSF, the President's brother, Defence Minister Gotabaya
Rajapaksa, has publicly voiced regret that Sri Lanka abolished jail
sentences for press offences. He brought a libel suit against the Leader
Publications newspaper group that led to the group being ordered to publish
nothing about him. Nonetheless, "The Sunday Leader" published a profile of
him in May and as a result its editors have been ordered to appear in court
on a contempt charge later this month.

CPJ reports that the pressure on Sri Lankan journalists is as intense as it
was during the height of the war with the Tamil Tigers earlier this year;
many of them have stopped writing and others have fled the country. The
revival of the press council is not surprising, says CPJ, as it's "the sort
of tool we've seen in many countries where the government is intent on
silencing critics."

Abeywardena said the decision was taken after a parliamentary committee
"discovered" that the government was still paying for the council even
though it was not doing anything.

Related stories on
- Government revives harsh press law:

More on the web:
- With Press Council, Sri Lanka revives a repressive tool (CPJ):
- Press Council's restoration would be "dangerous step backwards" (RSF):
- Profile of Gotabaya Rajapaksa (The Sunday Leader):



Police in the Philippines must step up investigations into journalist
killings following the murder of a radio commentator last week, the fourth
Filipino journalist to be killed in June, say the Committee to Protect
Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and
Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

A masked gunman shot and killed Jonathan Petalvero on 27 June in a
restaurant in Bayugan, a small town on the southern island of Mindanao,
according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP),
an IFJ affiliate. Petalvero, who hosted a radio programme on DXFM station,
was declared dead on arrival at the local hospital.

"While a direct connection between Petalvero's murder and his work as a
journalist has not yet been verified, there is no doubt that this type of
attack is consistent with the horrific pattern of antagonism against radio
broadcasters in the Philippines," IFJ said.

The Philippine national police have established a task force (Task Force
USIG) to investigate media killings in the Philippines, which occur
frequently and with near total impunity, says CPJ.

"Until the crimes are successfully investigated, June's surge of violence
against the press will undermine the confidence of Philippine journalists,"
said CPJ. "It is essential that Task Force USIG respond at once to identify
the attackers and protect witnesses who could assist in successful

Petalvero's commentary aired as "block-time" broadcasting, a common
practice in the Philippines in which commentators buy airtime from local
stations and solicit their own advertising. A number of block-time
broadcasters have been killed in recent years.

In this case, Petalvero's commentary aired on a station owned by a local
politician, according to NUJP. Petalvero was known for his hard-hitting
commentaries about corruption within the community. He also planned to run
for a position on the local council in 2010.

The Philippines ranks sixth worldwide among countries that fail to
prosecute cases of journalists killed for their work, according to CPJ's
Impunity Index. CPJ's Global Campaign Against Impunity seeks justice in
journalist murders in cooperation with local partners, such as IFEX member
the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.

Related stories on
- Radio broadcaster shot dead:



IFEX often reports on journalists who have been violently attacked or
killed while on the job, or who have been slapped with defamation suits -
two of the greatest threats to free expression. So how do you, as a
reporter, escape unscathed and write without fear or favour?

The Southeast Asian Centre for e-Media, a partner of the Netherlands-based
foundation Free Voice, has come up with "Guerrilla Techniques for Online
Activism" for online journalists and bloggers to freely "pursue their
advocacy goals."

Using examples from Malaysia during its election year, the centre outlines
some "common guerrilla techniques," such as using multiple anonymous
identities, or teaming up with a ghost writer in another (safer) country
who will publish articles as if s/he is the one writing them. The guide
also offers tips on how you can protect yourself from government detection,
including by getting circumvention software from

Read more Guerrilla Techniques for Online Activism (English only):



Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) has bestowed this year's
Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning to Mexican cartoonist Mario

Robles, who works for the newspaper "Noticias Voz e Imagen" in Oaxaca, was
assaulted on 19 April for a cartoon that poked fun at the Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI) over a crack down on public demonstrations.

For more information and to see the controversial cartoon, see: Mexican
cartoonist receives CRNI Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning:



Free expression advocates in the Americas have some cause to celebrate:
access to information laws are now on the books in half of the countries in
the region, while in almost all of the rest draft bills are under
discussion or are just moments away from being passed into law.

But some countries continue to struggle with implementing the laws, and
some are even backsliding. In other countries, access to info laws are
rarely used.

To the rescue is the Americas Regional Plan of Action, a blueprint to
advance the right of access to information in the Americas, developed at
the Americas Regional Conference on the Right of Access to Information in
April in Lima, Peru.

More than 115 representatives from government, civil society, media,
regional intergovernmental organisations, financial institutions and donors
from 18 countries in the region came together to consider the main
obstacles and potential solutions to this right.

The group agreed that states have a special obligation to disclose
information related to human rights violations or corruption - especially
in the Americas, where state-sponsored human rights violations, including
those committed under the guise of the"global war on terror," have been
"allowed to flourish under the veil of state secrets."

Chairing the final day of the conference, former U.S. President Jimmy
Carter reminded those gathered that "access to information can change the
landscape of society" as it provides citizens a tool to hold government
accountable, improve development, and assure greater security, as well as
being a fundamental human right.

The conference was organised by The Carter Center in collaboration with the
Organization of American States, the Andean Jurist Commission and the
Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. The regional document serves
as an annex to last year's global Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action.

Read the full Americas Regional Findings and Plan of Action and the Atlanta
Declaration for the Advancement of the Right of Access to Information:



China has indefinitely postponed the rollout of its much criticised
Internet filtering tool, say the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and
news reports.

The Chinese government has backed away from a "hastily conceived directive"
that all new PCs should carry filtering software from 1 July, allegedly to
allow overseas PC vendors extra time to prepare for the law, says CPJ. No
new deadline has been given.

But Internet activists and bloggers who had opposed the software as
intrusive and unsafe also took credit for the rollback.

In May, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology told PC vendors
that they had six weeks to include the filtering software Green Dam on all
news systems sold in China, which would be paid for by public funds in the
first year.

Green Dam, which has already been installed on many school computers in
China, was ostensibly conceived to shield children from harmful content
such as pornography. But opponents of the measure argued that the software
could be used to filter other types of stories and could tighten China's
control of the Internet.

The move drew criticism from many IFEX members and other rights groups. A
group of Chinese citizens opposed to the law were planning to conduct a
one-day boycott of the Internet in protest.

CPJ points out a potential future avenue for campaigning: the U.S. Commerce
Department voiced concern that the directive violated international trade

Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities are accusing foreign activists of using
the Internet to incite violent protests this week in Xinjiang, report the
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and
Voice of America (VOA).

The Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic group with cultural and linguistic ties
to Central Asia who have long desired autonomy from Beijing, have used the
Internet to rapidly spread images from what they say was a provocative
government crackdown on a peaceful demonstration. Chinese authorities say
156 people died on 5 July when Uighurs took to the streets to protest a
brawl between Han Chinese and Uighurs in Guangdong last month.

At a news conference on 6 July, Xinjiang's police chief Liu Yaohua singled
out the Internet, describing it as the main medium that foreigners use to
communicate with Uighurs in China, reports VOA.

The government has removed all Internet references to the protest, and
blocked social networking sites and disabled the Twitter messaging system,
reports RSF. The authorities claim the interruption was done legally, and
is necessary to maintain social stability.

Interestingly, the mainstream Chinese media has "embraced images" of the
clashes, which are working to stoke the Han majority's outrage against the
Uighur protesters, says CPJ.

Related stories on
- Beijing tells computer makers to install web blocking software:

More on the web:
- China postpones installation of filtering software... for now (CPJ):
- China delays rollout of Green Dam filtering tool (
- Independent reports about Xinjiang rioting censored in China (RSF):
- Some surprises, some old news in Xinjiang (CPJ):
- Chinese authorities blame Internet for fanning Uighur anger (VOA):



Another journalist has been killed in violence-ridden Mogadishu, report the
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Reporters Without Borders
(RSF) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

Mohamud Mohamed Yusuf, a journalist for the private station Radio Holy
Quran, was shot in the stomach twice as he was covering the fighting on 4
July in the neighbourhoods surrounding the station, says NUSOJ.

Yusuf, 22, died after being left on the side of the road for almost three
hours. Fighters shot at anyone who tried to take the journalist to the

According to NUSOJ and RSF, Yusuf is the sixth journalist to be killed in
Somalia this year and the second from Radio Holy Quran. Nur Muse Hussein
was shot in April while covering clashes in Beledweyn, north of Mogadishu,
and died of his injuries a month later.

Related stories on
- Journalist killed in Mogadishu, NUSOJ demands immediate end of

More on the web:
- Radio reporter shot dead in Mogadishu (RSF):
- IFJ renews call for protection of journalists in Somalia after latest
murder in Mogadishu:



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 (