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In Honduras, journalists' access to information arbitrarily restricted

A refusal by authorities in Honduras to provide journalists with lists of acts of violence amounts to an arbitrary action that restricts the free flow of information and is tantamount to censorship, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) declared today.

Journalists with various news media organisations complained that the Honduras Security Ministry is denying them access to information “on orders from above”. A similar situation was reported at the Tegucigalpa School Hospital public assistance center, where management ordered to restrict reporters' access, and declined to provide them with information.

The chairman of IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, stated that, “this is an arbitrary order, an illegitimate restriction of the free flow of information, and an undue limitation of the practice of journalism which should be immediately revoked as it represents an act of censorship that limits the right of the people to be informed.”

Since last week, the National Criminal Investigation Department (DNIC) has not provided any information concerning violent acts occurring in San Pedro Sula and its outskirts, following instructions from Security Minister Arturo Corrales, who ordered the police to stop giving the press information about violent acts occurring in that region of the Central American country.

Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, declared that press freedom is also based on the obligation of authorities “to put at the people's disposal, in an opportune and equitable manner, information generated by the public sector,” as stipulated in Principle 3 of the IAPA-inspired “Declaration of Chapultepec”.

He added that this will be one of the issues to be taken up by the IAPA delegation that will be visiting Honduras May 27-29.

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