Reporters Without Borders
Published on 21 April 2010
Georgino Orellana is the seventh Honduran journalist to be murdered in the past six weeks. A programme producer and presenter for Televisión de Honduras, Orellana was slain by a single shot to the head fired by an unidentified person who was waiting outside when he left the station’s studios in San Pedro Sula last night.
Honduras has been the world’s deadliest country for the media since the start of this year. Three journalists have fled abroad to escape the wave of violence.
Orellana’s killer left the scene immediately after last night’s shooting and the motive is not yet known. A university teacher as well as a journalist, Orellana used to work for the privately-owned broadcasting group Televicentro. Reporters Without Borders offers its condolences to his family and colleagues.
San Pedro Sula police chief Héctor Iván Mejía insisted that his murder “will not go unpunished.” But, despite recent government promises, justice has not been rendered in any of the attacks on the press since the June 2009 coup d’état, whether they were linked to the coup or not. Already bad because of the high level of criminal violence, the plight of journalists has got much worse since the coup.
One of example of this is the threats against the staff of Radio Progreso, which was occupied by the army in the hours following the coup to prevent it broadcasting any information about the president’s ouster. When contacted by Reporters Without Borders, Radio Progreso’s management preferred, for safety reasons, not to name the journalists and contributors who have received threats.
Community radio station La Voz de Zacate Grande was meanwhile subjected to intimidation yesterday by local police officers and security guards employed by businessman Miguel Facussé Barjum because it has been defending the cause of the Zacate Grande Peninsula Development Association, which is embroiled in a land dispute with Facussé.
According to the Committee for Free Expression (C-Libre), a Honduran NGO, shots were fired at local TV station Canal 40 in the Atlantic-coast town of Tocoa on 9 April. Journalist and presenter Emilio Oviedo Reyes believes the shots were fired by two individuals who have been targeting him since the coup.
It was Oviedo who alerted the police when fellow TV journalist Nahúm Palacios was gunned down in Tocoa on 14 March. It seems probable that Palacios was killed in connection with his work.
Finally, a criminal court in Tegucigalpa acquitted four officials with the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel), including its former chairman, Miguel Ángel Rodas, on 12 April on charges of abuse of authority for ordering the closure of Radio Globo and Cholusat TV (Canal 36) – the two media that had voiced the most criticism of the coup – and seizing equipment from them. This took place last September, when the de facto government declared a state of siege after ousted President Manuel Zelaya secretly reentered the country.
The court’s president judge, Martha Murillo, ruled that freedom of expression “was not obstructed in a situation of state of exception.” Article 73 of the Honduran constitution nonetheless takes the position that freedom of expression is paramount and forbids any confiscation of equipment from a news media or any interruption of its work. This constitutional guarantee cannot be suspended by a state of siege, C-Libre points out.
link - http://en.rsf.org/honduras-seventh-journalist-shot-dead-in-21-04-2010,37102.html