Monday, May 7, 2012

And the Winner Is: Miguel Facussé!

Winner for what? we're glad you asked: selected by Reporters Without Borders as one of its group of 41 global "Predators" threatening freedom of the press.

What, you ask, is a Reporters Without Borders Predator? They are described as "predators of the freedom to inform":
“Let there be no witness to our crimes” and “let there be no voice but ours” – these are the watchwords of authoritarian regimes and armed groups that are hostile to freedom of information.

We suspect there won't be a lot of celebration on Facussé's part. Even authoritarians want to be perceived as nice guys.

So what has Miguel Facussé done to deserve this distinction?

The citation is succinct, describing him as
one of the leading supporters of the June 2009 coup that toppled President Manuel Zelaya and paved the way for a still-continuing crackdown on opposition and grass-roots media. Its targets include small radio stations that defend the interests of local communities and often challenge those of big landowners.

Reporters Without Borders goes on to note that he  "has a private militia that can count on support from the police and army to impose his will".

It ends with the sobering tally of deaths of journalists: 26 over the last ten years; since the coup d'etat in 2009, a total of 19 journalists have died in Honduras.

Six newly added Predators were announced on May 2, World Press Freedom Day, bringing the list up to a total of 41.

What seems most remarkable on reviewing the list is that most of the others on it are either government officials-- presidents and kings abound-- or armed forces of one kind or another, whether official security, criminal cartels, or insurgents.

In Honduras, uniquely, all it takes is to reach the exalted rank of predator of the freedom to inform is to be a powerful businessman with political connections.

What a way to bring international attention to Honduras.

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