Honduran military personnel briefly detained seven journalists, temporarily shut down several local broadcasters, and intermittently blocked the broadcast signals of international news channels in the aftermath of the weekend coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on those in power in Honduras to allow the press to report freely and without fear of reprisal.
On Monday, at least 10 soldiers armed with rifles detained seven journalists working for foreign media inside their hotel in Tegucigalpa, according to international press reports. Adriana Sivori, a reporter for the Venezuela-based regional television network Telesur, her producer María José Díaz, and her cameraman Larry Sánchez were detained along with Nicolás García and Esteban Felix, a video journalist and photographer reporting for the Associated Press, and their two unidentified assistants, AP reported. Soldiers took the journalists to an immigration office but released them a short time later, according to press reports and CPJ interviews. According to Telesur, authorities confiscated Sivori’s equipment and cell phone before releasing her. Honduran military officials said the journalists were detained for “security measures,” Telesur reported.
The signals of two Tegucigalpa-based television stations and a provincial radio station were blocked early Sunday morning, according to international press reports and local journalists. The signal of Canal 8, a national, government-owned television station, was reinstated late Monday night, local reporters said. Radio Progreso, a Jesuit-run radio station in the northern city of El Progreso, was back on the air on Tuesday afternoon, reporters told CPJ. However, the private television station Canal 36, which CPJ sources said had supported Zelaya, remained off the air as of Tuesday afternoon.