Honduras | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Honduras

Honduras

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

52

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

22

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

16

Even though the relationship between the government and media has improved under the presidency of Ricardo Maduro, the country's media still suffer from a climate of corruption, bribery, and politicization. Most media outlets are owned by members of a small business elite with intersecting political interests. The constitution provides for free press and speech, yet there has been consistent pressure by successive governments to control and influence the media. This is primarily done through denying media access to government officials and withholding government advertisements from print media. Investigative journalism is active; however, self-censorship is also practiced to avoid upsetting the economic and political elites. It is also commonly believed that many journalists accept bribes to soften or suppress news content. A 1972 Organic Law of the College of Journalists requires all journalists to hold a university degree in journalism; press freedom advocates contend that this is a violation of freedom of expression. Defamation is punished under Article 345 of the criminal code, although a study by the Inter-American Dialogue reports that this law is not widely abused. Positively, Attorney General Roy Edmundo Medina filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in October arguing that Article 345 is unconstitutional and should be repealed. Journalist German Antonio Rivas, managing director of television station Corporacion Maya Vision-Canal 7, was shot and killed while parking his car in front of the station in November; an attempt on his life had been made in February. It was the first killing of a journalist in Honduras in 20 years; the police reported that the motive was unclear, although shortly before the February attempt Rivas had made controversial reports on alleged ecological damage inflicted by a private mining company as well as coffee and cattle smuggling at the border with Guatemala.