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Thirty-eight IFEX members make recommendations to improve freedom of expression at Honduras's UPR

(ARTICLE 19/C-Libre/IFEX) - We, the undersigned freedom of expression organisations, are very concerned about the deplorable human rights situation in Honduras, which has been exacerbated since the coup of 28 June 2009. Since the beginning of 2010 alone, it has been reported that nine journalists have been murdered and human rights defenders suffered harassment with impunity for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Following this political crisis it is essential to strengthen freedom of expression, as it is foundational to the reconstruction of the democratic process in Honduras.

On 4 November 2010, the human rights record of the State of Honduras will be reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Mechanism. Member countries of the Council have the responsibility of making comments and recommendations to Honduras on the general human rights situation in the country, including the right to freedom of expression. Recommendations by civil society organisations are also considered by the Council when conducting their review.

According to its international obligations, the Honduran government must promote and ensure a proper environment for the free flow of information, exchange of ideas and respect for dissident voices, access to information and pluralism in the media. In their submission to the Council, freedom of expression organisations ARTICLE 19 and C-Libre demonstrate that these international obligations are not being met, and that there remain numerous challenges and obstacles to freedom of expression in the country.

With the aim of ensuring the fundamental right to freedom of expression, we the undersigned ask the United Nations Human Rights Council that the following recommendations be made to the State of Honduras during its Universal Periodic Review:

  • Effective measures should be adopted to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other social communicators from attacks aimed at silencing them, and effective investigations should be undertaken to identify and punish those responsible. Precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights should be properly implemented.

  • Implement measures to investigate and punish human rights violations that took place under the coup.

  • The Telecommunications Act should establish an independent body to regulate public broadcasting. The criteria for licensing under this Act should be fair, transparent and inclusive of public, private and community broadcasters. It should also contain measures to prevent concentration of media ownership.

  • Community media should be explicitly recognised and promoted by law.

  • Reforms are needed to make the Information Law comply with all international standards, including the necessary legal framework to implement the right of access to information.

  • Decriminalise defamation and other content restrictions on freedom of expression to ensure harmonisation with international standards.

  • The allocation of government advertising must be subject to regulation to ensure it is based on fair and objective criteria.


    ARTICLE 19
    Comité por la Libre Expresión - C-Libre
    Adil Soz - International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech
    Association of Caribbean Media Workers
    Association of Independent Electronic Media
    Bahrain Center for Human Rights
    Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
    Cartoonists Rights Network International
    Center for Journalism and Public Ethics
    Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
    Center for Media Studies & Peace Building
    Centre for Independent Journalism - Malaysia
    Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala - CERIGUA
    Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social
    Ethiopian Freepress Journalists' Association
    Foro de Periodismo Argentino
    Foundation for Press Freedom - FLIP
    Freedom Forum
    Freedom House
    Free Media Movement
    Fundamedios - Andean Foundation for Media Observation and Study
    Globe International Center
    Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda
    Initiative for Freedom of Expression - Turkey
    Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information
    Institute of Mass Information
    Instituto Prensa y Sociedad
    Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela
    Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
    Media Foundation for West Africa
    National Press Association
    National Union of Somali Journalists
    Observatorio Latinoamericano para la Libertad de Expresión - OLA
    Pacific Islands News Association
    Pakistan Press Foundation
    Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms - MADA
    Sindicato de Periodistas del Paraguay
    SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom (Samir Kassir Eyes) - INTERIM MEMBER
    World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters - AMARC
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