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De facto government's decree suspends constitutional guarantees, further compromises media

(C-Libre/IFEX) - The de facto government has approved an executive decree that for all intents and purposes establishes a state of emergency throughout Honduras, suspending the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, free movement and freedom of assembly for 45 days.

The suspension of rights guaranteed in articles 69, 72, 78, 81 and 84 of the Constitution was approved by the de facto head of state, Roberto Micheletti, and the Council of Ministers and was published on 26 September 2009 in the official government gazette.

Article 3 of the decree prohibits the publication of spoken, written or televised materials that offend human dignity or public officials, or that threaten laws or governmental resolutions or in any way threaten peace or public order.

By way of the executive decree, the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL), through the national police and the armed forces, has been authorised to suspend any radio station, television station or cable system that does not adjust their programming to bring it in line with the conditions of the decree.

The de facto regime justified the measures saying that certain media outlets that focus on social issues, both radio and television stations, are generating hatred and violence against the state, "disturbing the national peace, calling for popular insurrection and psychologically damaging their audiences".

The armed forces have been told to support the national police when the situation warrants it, to implement the necessary measures to maintain order and public safety.

The decree also authorises the suppression of "all public gatherings not sanctioned by the police and military authorities."

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