Washington, D.C., June 17, 2010
The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) expressed its concern over the assassination of eight journalists this year as well as the prevalence of threats and harassment the media face in Honduras during a hearing on press freedoms in the Americas Wednesday, June 16, before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.
Alejandra Nuño, CEJIL’s director for Central America and Mexico, described the increasing risk for journalists in Honduras. She noted that three journalists were assassinated between 2003 and the middle of 2009, while from the time of the coup to the present, nine have been slain.
“These attacks on the media have had a profoundly chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas in Honduras, making national reconciliation and the restoration of a meaningful democracy a distant dream,” said Nuño, who also expressed her concern over indications that these murders will be added to the “growing list of cases remaining in impunity.”
All branches of government bear responsibility when journalists face persecution, CEJIL stated. It is the state’s obligation to prevent such occurrences and punish those responsible. “An effective investigation, along with other protective measures, can, indeed, prevent murders and other violent incidents,” Nuño stated.
CEJIL recommended that the members of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere send a message to the Honduran government that persecution of the media and social communicators must stop and that those who committed crimes against them must be prosecuted. CEJIL also recommended the establishment in Honduras of an office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Between March and June 2010, journalists Joseph Hernández, Nahúm Palacios, Jorge Alberto Orellana, David Meza, Manuel Juárez, José Bayardo Mairena, Luis Antonio Chévez, and Luis Arturo Mondragón have been assassinated. Last July Gabriel Fino Noreiga was also killed. No one has been prosecuted for any of the cases.
Meanwhile, threats and harassment of journalists in Honduras continue. Reporters for Radio Progreso, La Voz de Occidente, and La Voz de Zacate Grande, all stations critical of the government, have faced repeated threats this year.
Also participating in the hearing were Catalina Botero, the special rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists; Marcel Granier, president of Radio Caracas Televisión; Eduardo Enríquez, editor-in-chief of Nicaragua’s La Prensa; and Alejandro Aguirre, president of the Inter-American Press Association.
Read here the document.
Read here CEJIL's comments on the decree creating the Truth Commission in Honduras.
Press contact: Mauricio Herrera
Tel: (202) 445-46-76
The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) is an advocacy of human rights in the Americas. CEJIL's main objective is to ensure full implementation of international human rights standards in the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), through the effective use of the Inter-american human rights system and other international protection mechanisms. CEJIL is a nongovernmental nonprofit with consultative status at the OAS, the Organization of the United Nations (UN) and observer status with the African Commission on Human Rights.