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Broadcast outlets blocked

(C-Libre/IFEX) - 29 June 2009 - A coup d'état that took place in Honduras on 28 June 2009 against President Manuel Zelaya has resulted in flagrant violations of freedom of expression, with broadcast outlets blocked, programmes suspended, journalists harassed and citizens hounded for exercising their right to express an opinion.

For 48 hours the country's citizens were kept in the dark regarding the situation since those behind the coup cut electrical and telephone services for more than four hours and television and radio stations were taken off the air.

Canal 8, the government television station, is one of the broadcast outlets that has been off the air since 28 June. International news channels have been censored, radio and television journalists have suspended their normal broadcasts, and Radio Cadena Voces did not return to regular programming after a "power outage" forced it off the air.

The Radio Progreso and Globo radio stations, as well as Canal 36 television station, are also all off the air.

Citizens in the capital found it impossible to make telephone calls from land lines and those who tried to make calls from mobile phones faced constant interruptions in the service.

The director of Radio Cadena Voces, Dagoberto Rodríguez, expressed his concern over the power cuts that affected his radio station and also said that, on 29 June, he received telephone calls, supposedly from supporters of the ousted president. The callers issued threats against the radio station.

Eduardo Maldonado, a journalist and director of the "Hable como habla" programme who collaborated with President Zelaya on the "public consultation" that was to have taken place on 28 June, has sought refuge in the United States embassy.

Restrictions have been placed on independent radio stations and cable television stations throughout the country. Since 28 June, some cable television operators have cut signals belonging to the Guatevisión, Teletica and CNN television stations in order to ensure that citizens do not have access to alternative information.

C-Libre calls for the broadcast outlets to be allowed to freely resume operations and demands an end to this type of free expression violation. Likewise, the organisation condemns the limitations that have been placed on the information available to citizens with respect to the situation in the country.

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