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Media Crackdown Continues in Honduras as Two Journalists Attacked at Protest
Freedom House is alarmed by the ongoing crackdown on the media in Honduras; on February 5, journalist Cesar Silva and cameraman Samuel Aguilera from the television station Globo TV were attacked by participants of a transportation protest that they were reporting on near the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa. Authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The attackers identified Silva and Aguilera as journalists who had criticized the management of Blas Ramos, a local Transportation Manager, who, in previous years, had increased bus fares and abused his position. Presidential guards who were nearby ignored the journalists' pleas for help, which incited further violence and harassment by the attackers.
The attack on Silva and Aguilera reinforces the need for authorities to respect the right to press freedom and free expression and to implement concrete mechanisms to protect journalists.
Honduras is rated Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2012, and is the second most dangerous country in the world for journalists, who face intimidation, harassment and killings, which has resulted in high levels of self-censorship. Journalists and media outlets have faced attacks online as well as offline. On February 3, hackers targeted newspapers La Prensa and El Heraldo by logging in to their Facebook and Twitter accounts and publishing fake articles, including a piece claiming the president of the National Congress, Juan Orlando Hernández, was dead. Coincidentally, this past week the National Congress approved troubling reforms to a new telecommunications law, which will provide little security protection for users online and increase the government's regulation of traditional and social media, which in turn could severely stifle free expression online.
Freedom in the World 2012: Honduras
Freedom of the Press 2012: Honduras