Monday, September 12, 2011

Journalist Murdered: 16 and Counting Since the Coup

Since June 28, 2009 16 journalists have been murdered in Honduras.

Thursday, a reporter for Radio Uno in San Pedro was murdered in an ambush as he drove from his farm to his home in Puerto Cortes.

The reporter, Medardo Flores, was part of the finance section of the Frente Amplio de Resistencia Popular (FARP), the political wing of the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular (FNRP).

He was the second Frente member to be murdered that week. On Monday Mahadeo Roopchand Sadloo, an Indian immigrant known as "Emo" with more than 30 years of residence in Honduras, was murdered in Tegucigalpa.

Porfirio Lobo Sosa has ordered an investigation of these killings, but denies any government involvement.

Oscar Alvarez, until Saturday the Minister of Security, consistently said that all of the previous murders of journalists were because of common crimes or personal circumstances, which was convenient since that told the police what to conclude when they conduct their inadequate investigation.

There are some things to note about the reporting of the latest murder.

First, the Tiempo and El Heraldo newspaper stories are based on an AFP report.

The AFP stated that many people suspect that these recent murders are political crimes. El Heraldo cut that from their version of the article, preferring to give Oscar Alvarez the last word. Proceso Digital argues that the victim was not really a reporter, only a graduate of Radio Uno's popular journalism school. In this, they follow EFE's coverage, which also leaves out any mention of the other 15 journalists killed since the June 2009 coup d'etat, many of whom also had ties to the resistance movement.

Those who carried out the 2009 coup learned that they can get what they want by force, and that they can act with impunity. By cultivating the idea that Honduras is just a violent country, they and the successor government of Porfirio Lobo Sosa have argued that these deaths are not due to the specific activities of the journalists who died, but acts by common criminals-- although the lack of evidence and ineffective investigation doesn't give the security forces any real basis to say that.

The people who murdered Medardo Flores waited in ambush. Until proven otherwise by a believable, professional investigation, the assumption that this was a political act by someone opposed to the FNRP seems like a theory of the crime that any effective police force would investigate, not just reject out of hand.

No comments: