September 29, 2009 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Worse feared after de facto regime closes radio and TV stations, cracks down on journalists

Turning its words into actions, the facto government yesterday followed up its decree suspending civil liberties by closing Radio Globo and Canal 36 television, two Tegucigalpa-based stations that had already been assaulted and suspended several times in the past three months for their opposition to the 28 June coup d’état. In both cases, the police evicted staff and confiscated all the equipment. The Honduran press freedom organisation C-Libre said the closures violated article 73 of the Constitution, which forbids the authorities to interfere in the operations any news organisations. “How far will this de facto government go?” Reporters Without Borders asked. “Its president, Roberto Micheletti, now has a strong chance of being added to our list of Predators of Press Freedom. He said he was ready to rescind the state of siege the day after declaring it but we think this means nothing unless the authorities immediately return the equipment taken from Radio Globo and Canal 36 and allow broadcasting to resume, and unless they stop the repression, especially the repression of human rights activists.” Ronny Sánchez, a Guatemalan journalist employed by the Mexican TV station Televisa, said he was beaten by members of the police units that were present for the confiscation of equipment from Radio Globo. Another Guatemalan journalist, Alberto Cardona of Guatevisión, was also the victim of police brutality. “The repression is worse than during the national security process in the 1980s, when civil liberties were still officially guaranteed,” Reporters Without Borders was told by Bertha Oliva de Nativi, the general coordinator of the Committee of Families of Detained and Disappeared Persons in Honduras (Cofadeh). “Now they no longer exist and the military can do what they like,” she added. “The public health situation is also becoming more and more alarming and needs attention from the international community as well.” Reporters Without Borders calls on the international community, led by Brazil and the United States, to press the de facto government to allow an Organisation of American States delegation to visit Honduras so that it can seek the release of the government opponents, journalists and human rights activists who are currently detained.