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Radio journalist receives death threat

(C-Libre/IFEX) - 2 March 2012 - Journalist Mavis Ethel Cruz received a death threat over the phone on 29 February 2012, shortly after her radio programme "Noticias a la Hora", broadcast on Radio Libertad, ended. On the show, which airs from 12:00pm to 1:00pm, she and her colleague Karina Interiano had discussed a number of topics of interest.

At 1:50pm, Cruz was about to serve lunch when her home phone rang. Her husband, journalist Carlos Rodríguez, answered the phone. A female caller asked to speak to Cruz. She refused to identify herself and said, "Tell Mavis that we are going to break her, but first we will start with her son." "Mavis has been voicing some very strong criticisms," the caller added, in reference to the journalist's radio programme.

"We did not want to report the threat until yesterday. We took our complaint to the Public Prosecutor's Office and then to lawyer Wilfredo Castellanos, director of the National Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras (CONADEH). We did this even though we know there is no political will from the authorities to respond quickly," Rodríguez said.

Cruz said she did not suspect anyone in particular, and that she would continue to report as she has done on her programme for the last four years. She added that what bothers her is the threat to her son. "If someone has something against me, they should resolve it with me," she said.

The only previous incident involving the journalist was in 2010 when she had a confrontation with Héctor Iván Mejía, the current National Preventative Police spokesperson. On that occasion, the police officer had called in to her programme, which was being broadcast on Radio Romance, and he and Cruz had debated different theories about the death of journalist Georgino Orellana, killed in April 2010. Angered by Cruz's views, the police officer then tried unsuccessfully to convince the Radio Romance management to cancel the journalist's programme.

Cruz has always been opposed to the June 2009 coup d'état; the issues she discusses on air are related to events occurring in the country, especially corruption scandals and the government's agenda.

On the day she was threatened, the journalist had discussed on her show a fire in the federal revenue archives, where a list of delinquent accounts had been kept. "[Karina Interiano and I] were commenting on this coincidence," Cruz explained. Other topics covered on the programme referred to a complaint by employees of Mexican companies Electra and Banco Azteca and the resignation of the director of a police department.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)

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