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Pluralism and press freedom must be restored, says mission

Five IFEX members and two other organisations are calling for dialogue between the Honduran media, human rights groups and civil society in the country in order to rebuild a democratic environment. The seven organisations have released a report on the state of press freedom in Honduras since the 28 June 2009 coup d'état after a joint fact-finding mission in November 2009.

The mission findings outline how the June coup led to a brutal repression of media that chose to remain loyal to "ousted President Manuel Zelaya or simply opposed the coup." The closures, disruptions and attacks on media outlets, including online media and community radio stations, reveal the current intensity of censorship in the country. Journalists and activists were assaulted by supporters of both the opposition and the de facto regime that took over in June.

However, the mission delegates noted that some media outlets were complicit in the violence. "This coup would never have succeeded without the support of the country's leading news media, owned by politicians and big businessmen who did not hesitate to expose their own staff to reprisals from an angry population."

The mission delegates recommend that Honduran authorities reform the legislation governing media regulation and recognition of community radio stations. The seven organisations also call on Honduras to reform laws on access to information and to guarantee the safety of journalists.

The report is available in Spanish only:
Press freedom in Honduras

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