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Key Developments

» Post-coup violence and impunity continue to damage press freedom.

» Truth and Reconciliation Commission finds major anti-press attacks in 2009 coup.

The Honduran press continued to suffer the violent fallout of the 2009 coup that ousted Manuel Zelaya. Four broadcast journalists were murdered in 2011 under unclear circumstances. CPJ is investigating to determine whether the killings were work-related. A climate of violence and widespread impunity has made the country one of the most dangerous in the region. The government's stance on media killings has worsened the situation. Authorities have minimized crimes against journalists and been slow and negligent in pursuing the culprits. No progress was reported in solving the murders of three journalists killed in direct relation to their work in 2010, CPJ research shows. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission composed of Honduran and international representatives delivered its much-anticipated report on the military-led overthrow of Zelaya. The commission labeled the takeover a coup--a decision met with controversy in Honduras--but it also accused Zelaya of improperly ignoring a Supreme Court decision concerning presidential term limits. The report found major press freedom violations during the coup, including the torture of journalists and the takeover of media premises.

  • 7

    Police attacks, 2011
  • 7

    Attacks, 2011
  • 3

    Radio stations harassed
  • 12

    Major attacks, 2009 coup
  • 5

    Murders, motive confirmed, since 1992

Journalists covering a tumultuous nationwide teachers' strike faced harassment, detention, and violent attacks from police during a two-week period in March and April, CPJ research shows.

Breakdown of harassment:
1: Journalist detained.
1: Journalist grazed by a bullet.
3: Journalists injured by tear gas or rubber bullets.
2: Journalists who had a tear gas canister thrown at their vehicle.


CPJ research shows that La Tribuna General Manager Manuel Acosta Medina, Voz de Zacate Grande Director Franklin Meléndez, and Radio Uno Director Arnulfo Aguilar were the targets of armed violence. In addition, four journalists were murdered under unclear circumstances.

The murder victims were: television journalist Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco, media owner Luis Ernesto Mendoza Cerrato, and radio journalists Nery Geremías Orellana and Luz Marina Paz Villalobos.

Breakdown of attacks:


Attempted break-in of journalist's home by gunmen


Shootings of journalists


Murders, motives unconfirmed


At least three community radio outlets that featured critical news coverage faced harassment in January 2011, according to CPJ research. Community stations have been vulnerable to threats and harassment in recent years.

Breakdown of harassment:
La Voz Lenca and Guarajambala: The OAS special rapporteur for freedom of expression said a government contractor cut electricity to these two radio stations, likely in reprisal for their critical content.
Faluma Bimetu: This station took itself off the air for 12 days after facing harassment from local officials concerning its leadership. The station had criticized local land development projects.


A July 2011 report by the government-sponsored Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that the military committed major violations of freedom of expression.

From the report:


Military occupations of media facilities.


Journalists tortured.


Media organizations subjected to persecution, threats, and attacks.


CPJ research shows at least five journalists have been murdered in direct relation to their work since 1992. Thirteen others have been killed in unclear circumstances, and CPJ continues to investigate.

A closer look at Honduran murder cases:


Percent committed with full impunity.


Percent of victims threatened beforehand.


Percent of victims who worked in television.

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