Updated 05:50 AM EDT, Thu, Mar 23, 2017
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Honduras: A Battleground for Journalism

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Honduras is a Central American country recovering from the brink of crisis. Since a violent upheaval and the removal of its president in 2009 in a quite unorthodox transition of power, the country has had the blood of journalists and innocent civilians on its hands.

In the years since the upheaval in 2009, no less than 36 journalists—up to 38 by some estimates—are dead or missing within the country’s borders, making it one of the most unsafe places on Earth to practice journalism.

“For us Hondurans perpetual resignation has become our only defence mechanism in a country with the highest homicide rate in the world," writes Erick Tejada Carbajal. “In Honduras, death is our daily bread and it travels around on little motorbikes, in big white vans, and along pathways and on noisy police patrols. Ninety per cent of violent deaths float placidly on the tranquil waters of impunity, and journalistic self-censorship is now being subtly taught in journalism schools.”

The problem, according to observers, is the almost-complete guarantee of impunity from prosecution for such attacks unless the victim is very well connected to the power structure.

“Journalists who cover organized crime, government corruption and other sensitive issues are increasingly facing threats and lethal attacks in Honduras, with almost complete impunity for perpetrators,” said PEN International in a new report released in partnership with PEN Canada and the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

The 93-page report profiles the rising level of violence that more than doubled the homicide rate in Honduras between 2005 and 2010. The report states that following the 2009 coup journalists were subjected to limitations, the confiscation of their equipment and were routinely detained (and often beaten) by the military and police forces, those that are actually charged with their protection.

(Read the entire report HERE.)

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