Journalist flees Honduras after threats

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that Honduran journalist José Alemán fled the country on Sunday after threatening attacks on March 28. A phone call with insults came 20 s after he read news about a gunfight between the police and local criminals. The caller told him “keep reporting the news you son of a b…”, with the unspoken implication “and you will pay for it”. His home was also broken into and shots fired in his bedroom, but Alemán was not there; he had fled to a police station after a car tried to run him off the road as he was biking. He stayed in the police station for the rest of the day and then left the country.

The information came from staff at the newspaper Diario Tiempo, who insisted on being anonymous for their own safety. Alemán worked for Radio America and also wrote for the Tiempo and La Tribuna newspapers, according to Tiempo, but the article in La Tribuna is allegedly taken from “http://www.radiomundial.com.ve/” (a domain that did not work at the time of writing this) and the newspaper acts as though it did not know José Alemán. Perhaps they are afraid of also being attacked. If so, the intimidation is very effective.

Reporters Without Borders now write that Honduras is the world’s most dangerous country for journalists. It passed Mexico on that spot. It already was the country with the highest murder rate per capita.

The Honduran president is caught between a rock and a hard place. Some want to isolate the country due to the high level of criminality unless the president takes action against it. At the same time, forceful action against the criminality has been interpreted as proof for the notion that it was a military coup last year.

In my opinion this latest case in March is in line with my hypothesis (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) that the perpetrators of most of this extreme violence are the drug cartels. Unfortunately they are accomplishing their objective: The Honduran press has largely stopped reporting on it. It is now up to international bloggers and social media to spread the news. The press cannot be relied upon due to the intimidation.

And please, don’t isolate Honduras, Spain and others. You are just giving the drug lords what they want if you do.