On the adoption of the Honudras UPR at the 30th UN Human Rights Council, ARTICLE 19, together with partner organisations C-Libre and JASS Associates, delivered a statement drawing attention to attacks against journalists and a lack of action by Honduran state to protect them.
Item 6 UPR Outcome Adoption for Honduras
25th Sept 2015
I deliver this statement on behalf of ARTICLE 19, C-Libre, and JASS Associates.
In 2014, nine journalists and one media worker were killed, and so far this year, six journalists and three media workers have been killed. Only two cases have been prosecuted.
In 2015, the Asociación Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre) has published 160 alerts for various violations against freedom of expression. The stigmatisation of journalists who are critical of the government is worsening, as well as violence by police and military when journalists are covering public demonstrations. All these cases have gone unpunished. We are in danger: I [Edy Tabora of C-Libre] was threatened with being killed by a firearm on 10 September this year.
The mechanism of protection created by the [Human Rights] Defenders and Journalists Act has yet to be implemented, since it has neither the necessary regulation nor the necessary budget.
Journalists continue to suffer harassment and threat of judicial persecution, accused of committing crimes of libel, slander, and defamation. The Supreme Court of Justice dismissed a constitutional complaint against honour crimes, without explaining its reasoning.
Several standards have been approved which restrict public officials’ freedom to express opinions or disseminate information in the public interest. This year, two individuals have been reprimanded: Jenifer Padilla, who posted a comment on Facebook about corruption in the Social Security Institute; and trade unionist, Darwin Barahona, who spoke on television about tax exemptions.
The Free Expression of Thought Act of 1958 contains many standards which criminalise and censor the exercise of journalism. Neither this law, nor the Penal Code, establish standards specifically relating to freedom of expression violations. The Security and Defense Secrecy Act passed in 2014, gravely restricted access to public information.