PBI-Honduras attends ‘Walking the Tightrope’ forum on persecution of journalists
On July 30, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted on its Facebook page, “On Saturday, July 20, PBI-Honduras Project attended the forum ‘Walking the Tightrope’, organized by ASOPODEHU in collaboration with the [Colombia-based] Foundation for Press Freedom – FLIP, in the city of Marcala, La Paz.”
PBI-Honduras adds, “There we heard stories of journalists and social communicators who have been persecuted for their defence of freedom of expression and current criminalization trends in Honduras and throughout the Latin American region.”
Al Jazeera has reported, “At least 62 journalists have been killed in the country between 2006 and 2017, according to data from the Commission for Investigation of Attacks on Journalists of the Latin American Federation of Journalists. Only two of those killings happened before [the US-backed military coup in] 2009.”
Reporters Without Borders has ranked Honduras 141 out of 180 countries on the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
That article adds, “The statistics make Honduras the most deadly country for journalists in the Americas per capita.”
There have also been ongoing strikes and protests in Honduras since late April of this year over President Juan Orlando Hernández’s proposed ‘reforms’ of the health and education systems, deep public dissatisfaction with his government, allegations of corruption, and findings of widespread irregularities in the November 2017 election.
On June 28, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued this statement noting that it is investigating the deaths of four people and that “another 78 people, including journalists and human rights defenders, have reportedly been injured by the security forces in the context of the protests.”
ASOPODEHU refers to the Association for Democracy and Human Rights in Honduras, an organization headed by journalist Dina Meza. She attended the ‘Walking the Tightrope’ forum (you can see her sitting at the left end of the head table in the photo).
Its mission (translated from Spanish) is “to accompany victims of violations of their fundamental human rights, with emphasis on vulnerable groups: journalists, social communicators, women, youth, indigenous people, blacks and the community of sexual diversity.”
Al Jazeera also notes the organization “supports at-risk media workers and offers training to young journalists.”
On July 12, PBI-Honduras also posted, “Last week, we accompanied Dina Meza from ASOPODEHU in meetings with journalists in the cities of La Paz and Marcala in order to discuss topics related to freedom of expression.”
PBI-Honduras has accompanied Meza since May 2014.
Al Jazeera has reported, “As a safety precaution, Meza often is flanked by a pair of international human rights observers provided by Peace Brigades International when she works in the field on investigations or reporting outside of the capital, Tegucigalpa.”