Area: 112,000
Population: 7,205,000.
Language: Spanish.
Head of state: President Manuel Zelaya.

Even politicians who are media proprietors have no qualms about physically attacking or harassing journalists, especially the most vulnerable ones. Two editors of a website were also threatened by a private security firm.

Violence against journalists and pressure on them remains alarmingly high, especially as it is often by politicians who are sometimes also media owners. A dozen such incidents occurred in 2006, the worst when Liberal Party MP Romualdo Bueso Melghem, accompanied by armed men, stormed into a meeting of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH) in the southwestern town of Intibucá on 2 April and hurled racist insults at indigenous journalist Martha Vásquez and tried to strangle her. Bueso, who is vice-president of the parliamentary commission for ethnic minorities, was not punished for the attack.

Wendy Guerra, presenter of an investigative programme, "Denuncias 49," on TV station Canal 49, was summarily dismissed in April by her boss, former Liberal Party MP Amid Cárdenas, who admitted he yielded to pressure from politician friends. He reinstated her on 3 May. Reporter Octavio Carvajal, of radio station STC Noticia, fled the country in May for three weeks after being hounded by the state phone company Hondutel and the presidential secretariat after criticising how the firm was being run.

The private sector also threatened the media. Journalists Roberto Marín García and Dina Meza, of the website and members of the Association for a Fairer Society (ASJ), were followed and hounded after revealing fraud and labour violations at security firm Delta Segurity and attempts were made to blackmail them. They were cleared of "defamation" and "insults" by a Tegucigalpa court on 31 October but their lawyer, Dionisio García, was murdered on 4 December.


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