MEDIA UNDER THREAT FROM VIOLENCE
More than 20 years have passed since the military dictatorships and civil wars ended in Latin America and the Caribbean, except Colombia, which still endures an armed conflict that began half a century ago. Cuba is also distinguished by a regime inherited from the Cold War that tolerates no independent watchdogs although an emerging civil society is challenging its “model.”
Peace and democratic institutions have been established in the region, at least formally, as there is a long road from constitutional guarantees of civil liberties to real democracy with respect for the rule of law. Many journalists and human rights defenders continue to be exposed to a high level violence that comes from different quarters including organized crime, paramilitary groups and sometimes the state.
Honduras is an example of such a confluence of violence, with a murder rate comparable to that of a country at war – 80 per 100,000 in a population of 7 million. More than 30 journalists have been killed in the past decade, 27 of them since the June 2009 coup that ousted Manuel Zelaya, an elected president. A link with the victim’s work as a journalist has been established in nine of these murders but almost all of them have gone unpunished in this failed state. Militias in the pay of big landowners, the militarized police, the army and the criminal cartels all have a hand in the threats, beatings and shootings and in the “protection” of certain media.
For more on this story, visit: Media Under Threat From Violence | Reporters Without Borders.