Freedom of Expression Under Attack in Central America: Four Cases From New AI Report

Out of  almost 300 cases of human rights abuses covered in Amnesty International’s new report, Transforming Pain into Hope:  Human Rights Defenders in Latin America, only four have resulted in the conviction of those responsible.

One of the main reasons why violators continue enjoy impunity is that they target precisely those individuals who expose their crimes.  The report therefore emphasizes the danger posed to journalists, bloggers, and trade unionists who speak up for human rights.

Just within the relatively small region of Central America, the report highlights four important cases of attacks on freedom of expression that seek to cover up other human rights abuses: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

If I Keep Quiet, Impunity Wins

By Dina Meza, Honduran journalist

dina meza

Dina Meza, a Honduran journalist and human rights activist, has been threatened repeatedly with sexual violence.

26 years ago I decided to study journalism at the National Autonomous University of Honduras.

I began my studies in 1986, and dreamed of working for the big press outlets and speaking freely. But I never imagined that speaking, writing and telling the truth about what was happening could mean walking the line between life and death if anyone powerful in Honduras felt threatened.

Serious threats to freedom of expression are on the rise in Honduras. One of the first killings of journalists took place on November 26, 2003, when the environmental journalist German Rivas, of CMV Noticias, Channel 7, was killed. Eight months previously he had been attacked, but the Attorney General’s Office never investigated, or brought the culprits to justice.
Four years on, the crimes continued, and with the coup d’etat in 2009, intolerance grew to such an extent that censorship and self-censorship are now the inseparable companions of every journalist.

Since the coup d’etat, 20 journalists have been killed in Honduras. The files on these deaths carry on gathering dust in the drawers of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, impunity tries to silence a story which was never told.