Freedom of Expression






The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemns the restrictions to freedom of expression that representatives of the public sector have imposed in the last few days in Honduras. The Special Rapporteurship urges the de facto authorities to adopt urgent measures necessary to guarantee that all communication media in the country are able to operate, without distinction, independently of their editorial stand.


According to the information received, starting on September 21, several power outages in Tegucigalpa have intermittently affected the broadcasting of TV Channel 36 and Globo Radio. The Office of the Special Rapporteur also received information indicating that members of the military occupied the power control center in Tegucigalpa, which controls the transmission of electric power in the region of the capital city. Moreover, Esdras Amado López, director of Channel 36, informed that on September 23 the satellite that retransmits the TV signal for the rest of the country was blocked.


In addition, Radio Progreso, of the Yoro Department, decided not to transmit during the hours of the curfew decreed by the de facto government, on account of reasons directly associated with the security of its employees. A Radio Progreso journalist said that on September 22 and 24 military contingents were deployed to the radio, whose editorial stand is contrary to the de facto regime, aiming to intimidate journalists and technicians.


The Special Rapporteurship expresses its deep concern for the restrictions to freedom of expression through indirect methods such as the power outages, the satellite interferences, the intimidations through disproportionate displays of the public force, o any other method that has the effect to prevent the free functioning of the mass media, independently of their editorial stands.


The Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression demand absolute respect of the right to freedom of expression, and call on the de facto authorities to ensure all guarantees so that journalists and media outlets may freely and securely perform their work of informing the public.


Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights says that: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and expression. This right includes freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds". It also says that: "the right of expression may not be restricted by indirect methods or means, such as the abuse of government or private controls over newsprint, radio broadcasting frequencies, or equipment used in the dissemination of information, or by any other means tending to impede the communication and circulation of ideas and opinions".