December 12, 2017 - Updated on December 13, 2017

Protection arbitrarily removed from Honduran journalist

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the arbitrary withdrawal of the protection that Honduran freelance journalist Jairo López had been receiving from the National Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists since February.

His protection was withdrawn on 26 November although he continues to be the target of frequent death threats, especially on social networks. A former host of the Canal 21 TV news programme “El Informador,” he is currently at the centre of a defamation trial that is marred by major irregularities.

López has been the victim of a major smear campaign ever since he reported acts of corruption allegedly involving elected officials and politicians including the speaker of the national congress in 2015.

"We condemn this baseless decision and call on the government to restore the security measures without delay," said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF's Latin America bureau. "The threats to which Jairo López continues to be exposed are every worrying and, as well as hampering his journalistic work, are taking a constant psychological toll."

López was summoned by the military police yesterday and accused of being an opposition leader in the street protests against President Juan Orlando Hernández, whose reelection is being widely disputed.

López told RSF that he was covering the demonstrations as a reporter and that, at the same time, he feared that he could be on a hit-list of persons to be murdered by the Honduran military and police.