Press Release

Office of the Special Rapporteur Expresses Concern over Attacks Against Media in Honduras

March 30, 2011

Washington, D.C. —  The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its concern over several acts of harassment suffered by Honduran media employees in March 2011. The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the Honduran State to investigate these acts and to guarantee the life and physical integrity of those threatened and attacked.

According to the information received, on March 25, police agents have fired tear gas bombs against Channel 36-Cholusat reporter Richard Casulá and cameraman Salvador Sandoval, while they were covering the police actions in a teachers´ demonstration in Tegucigalpa. Sandoval was injured in the face and Casulá suffered an intoxication caused by inhaling tear gases. On March 22, police have also caused injuries to reporter Lidieth Díaz, cameraman Rodolfo Sierra, both from Channel 36-Cholusat, and to Globo Radio station´s director David Romero, while they were talking to a group of teachers. In another incident, according to the information received, officials of the Honduran National Police shot tear gas and rubber bullets against Sandra Maribel Sánchez, director of Radio Gualcho, and Globo TV cameraman, Uriel Rodríguez, while they were covering a forcible removal of professors in Tegucigalpa.

In addition, the director of La Voz de Zacate Grande community-based radio station, Franklin Meléndez, was shot in the leg on March 13. According to reports, on that day, two men reproached Meléndez for his coverage of the area´s land ownership conflicts, and one of them shot him. Furthermore, reporters from La Voz de Zacate Grande are said to have received serious death threats recently and have requested precautionary measures.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern over these events which add to the serious murders and attacks against journalists committed during 2010, and recalls that Principle 9 of the IACHR’s Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states: "The murder, kidnapping, intimidation of and/or threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression. It is the duty of the state to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation."

No. R 27/11