Lifting of state siege does not guarantee restoration of media diversity

first_imgNews to go further Help by sharing this information RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” News HondurasAmericas April 27, 2021 Find out more October 7, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Lifting of state siege does not guarantee restoration of media diversity Reports Follow the news on Honduras Receive email alerts 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies December 28, 2020 Find out more HondurasAmericas May 13, 2021 Find out more News Organisation De facto President Roberto Micheletti’s decision yesterday to lift the state of siege after one week does not unfortunately mean that real press freedom has been restored. By suspending basic freedoms on 28 September, the government that took over after ousting President Manuel Zelaya in June has succeeded in silencing the two main opposition broadcast media, Radio Globo and the Canal 36 TV station.Despite the censorship, Radio Globo is managing to operate as web radio from a clandestine studio in a Tegucigalpa neighbourhood. But it has no prospect of being able to resume normal broadcasting until it has recovered the frequency that was taken away by the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) – probably a lengthy procedure.Radio Globo will also have to recover the equipment that was confiscated by the security forces on 28 September. As for Canal 36, its broadcast equipment was completely destroyed when soldiers raided its studios on 28 September.“In practice, the restoration of public freedoms changes nothing as the repression continues and the opposition mouthpieces have been reduced to silence,” Bertha Oliva, the coordinator of the Committee of Families of Detained and Disappeared Persons in Honduras (Cofadeh), told Reporters Without Borders.Radio Progreso, a provincial radio station that has been nominated for the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom prize in the “Media” category, has resisted all attempts to censor it. “The community has rallied around whenever soldiers or police have tried to invade its studios,” Reporters Without Borders has been told.“The return of Radio Globo and Canal 36 to the airwaves, one of the conditions set by Manuel Zelaya for a resumption of dialogue, is an indispensible step for restoring the rule of law in Honduras and we far from seeing this happen,” Reporters Without Borders said. “At the same time, how can the elections that the de facto government wants to hold at all cost on 29 November be regarded as democratic in the absence of media diversity,” the press freedom organisation asked. “The Organisation of American States mission must get the de facto government to return or replace the equipment and frequencies.”Reporters Without Borders added: “From the outset, we have condemned the de facto government’s treatment of the foreign media and opposition press but there is absolutely no question of tolerating any expression of hatred, whatever its origin. We therefore unreservedly condemn the horrendous anti-Semitic comments made by Radio Globo manager David Romero.”According to the Latin American Herald Tribune, President Zelaya has claimed on several occasions that the military is getting “support from Israeli mercenaries.” Alluding to this claim, Romero said on the air he regretted that “Hitler was not able to carry his project through to the end.” Romero subsequently apologised in an interview for the Associated Press, saying his grandfather was of Jewish origin. (Photo: AFP) RSF_en RSF begins research into mechanisms for protecting journalists in Latin Americalast_img