Alexis Quiroz, executive director with the Committee for
Freedom of Expression (C-Libre), a local press freedom group, said the
situation remains unstable. "The curfew imposed by the new government has
created serious restrictions for local reporters," Quiroz told CPJ. But Quiroz
also noted that some media outlets have favored Micheletti. On Sunday, when the
military blocked Zelaya's return flight and opened fire on his supporters at
Manuel Torres, an independent journalist and local media analyst, went as far as to say that most Honduran media have acted in a partisan way against Zelaya. "The ousted president," said Torres, "had a contentious relationship with the press and frequently used charged rhetoric" in responding to criticism in the media. Torres charged that media bias has led to manipulation of facts, the presentation of misleading information, and the use of selective censorship. "The press ignored the facts, misused sources, and transformed speculation into information," Torres told CPJ.
The Associated Press has reported that most TV stations have devoted coverage to protests favoring Micheletti, while ignoring those supporting Zelaya. Radio reports, the AP said, were more balanced but still delivered more information on the de facto government.
"The behavior of the Honduran media during the coup bears a
resemblance to what happened in
Journalists at some outlets say the criticism is unfair. They complained about their reporters being attacked and harassed by Zelaya supporters while covering street demonstrations.
Rosángela Soto, a reporter and TV host with privately owned
Channel 3 in
Elán Reyes Pineda, president of the Honduran Journalists
Union, added that pro-Zelaya protesters had threatened journalists at street
protests and hurled stones and sticks at the offices of several
Media coverage aside, the coup leaders have taken assertive measures of their
own to censor and control the flow of information. Electricity was cut off in
The signals of two Tegucigalpa-based television stations and
two radio stations were blocked hours after the coup on June 29, according to
CPJ sources and press reports. The signal of Canal 8, a national,
government-owned television station, was reinstated 24 hours later. Private
television station Canal 36, which CPJ sources said had supported Zelaya,
remained off the air until Sunday. Radio Globo and Radio Progreso, a Jesuit-run
radio station in the northern city of
So the coup leaders have clearly caused serious damage to the press. But by slanting their coverage, some news outlets have themselves devalued press freedom.