Source: ALBA Movimientos / The Dawn News / February 15, 2018
The widespread corruption and institutional collusion of a justice system that lacks the political will to investigate and punish crimes have historically caused high rates of impunity in Honduras. Up until today, 92% of journalist murders remain unpunished.
Statistics of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) in Honduras indicate that from October 2001, when Arístides Soto was murdered, to this day, 75 journalists have been victims of murder. 69 of these crimes remain unpunished. The statistic includes writers, cameramen, radio and TV operators and media owners.
On top of this there is an enormous amount of attacks, death threats, stealing of equipment, intimidation and aggressions, which also remain unpunished by the organisms of justice, although many demands for justice have been made from human rights organisms both in the country and internationally.
Among the only six cases that were solved, three had huge media attention: the murders of the director of HRN radio (Alfredo Villatoro), of Aníbal Barrow and of Jorge Orellana. The other three were Carlos Hilario Mejía (employee of Radio Progreso), Artemio Deras (Radio La Voz de los Profetas) and Héctor Medina Polanco (Omega Visión).
In the last four years, under the first government of Juan Orlando Hernández, 32 media workers were murdered. This represents 43% of the total amount of media worker murders that took place in 16 years.
In the last few months, as a result of the electoral fraud committed by Juan Orlando Hernández, public protests have increased and also the level of violence against the population in general and journalists in particular.
For example, as they reported on the protest held by the Alliance of the Opposition Against the Dictatorship, the police threw tear gas at them, and then the military attacked them with non-lethal methods. Journalist Claudia Mendoza was beaten as she tried to report on the violence against protesters, and a cameraman of UNE TV had his equipment destroyed.
After the coup d’état carried out in June 2009 to take former president Manuel Zelaya Rosales out of power, Honduras became one of the most dangerous places in the world for reporters.