Further confirmation of the grave deterioration of the human rights situation in Honduras can be found in a detailed report on freedom of speech released on May 3rd by the Tegucigalpa-based organization Committee for Free Speech, or C-Libre. Though it has received scant attention in the media, the report (which can be accessed here in Spanish) offers an alarming and scathing account of the attacks endured by Honduran media outlets and journalists critical of the June 28 coup.
C-Libre, run by independent journalists and civil society actors, has been publishing annual reports on attacks against free speech in Honduras since 2005. The reports rigorously document a broad array of abuses including assassinations and acts of intimidation against journalists, the closure of media outlets and acts of censorship.
The 2009 C-Libre report, entitled “A Brutality without Precedent”, states that, in the context of the coup, the “order of the day was censorship, persecution, sabotage, the confiscation of equipment, threats to the physical integrity of [media workers] and the imposition of measures that restricted or limited the free exercise of journalism.”
According to the report’s authors, in 2009 alone, 329 attacks were documented, in contrast with an average of 42 attacks per year between 2005 and 2008. A chronological list of violations shows that 18 of the attacks took place before the June 28 coup and 311 took place afterwards. The report states that 88 percent of attacks that took place after June 28th were perpetrated by sectors “identified as sympathetic to the de facto government.”
Unfortunately, the attacks against journalists in Honduras have continued unabated in 2010 and assassinations of journalists have actually increased. Since the presidential inauguration of Porfirio Diaz on February 27th, at least six Honduran journalists have been killed according to Amnesty International and other rights groups. So far these killings remain uninvestigated by Honduras’ judicial authorities.