Garifuna radio station in Honduras goes silent after threats

Radio Faluma Bimetu/Coco Dulce, a station serving the Afro-Caribbean Garifuna community in the Honduran coastal city of Triunfo de la Cruz, suspended transmissions this weekend due to “increasing threats and hostility” in the lead up to local elections, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) reports.

The station, which was founded in 1997 to promote Garifuna culture and rights, will stay off the air until conditions improve and its staff are out of danger, AMARC adds. According to Reporters without Borders, police from the nearby town of Tela arrived last week to install its choices in Trifuno de la Cruz’s management board, and when the community balked and held to its plans to hold elections, threats were made to burn down the station.

The decision to suspend transmissions at the station was at the behest of director Alfredo López, who was called to testify Jan. 14 about his alleged involvement in a shooting earlier that week, Periodistas en Español explain. He was released for lack of evidence.

Previous times the station had faced harassment and violence include López’s detention in 2009 by the military and the police after protesting against the coup and arson that burned down the offices of the station in early 2010.

Faluma Bimetu’s travails are the only the most recent case of harassment suffered by the Honduran press, where the state of freedom of expression has continued to worsen in the wake of the June 2009 coup. Just last week, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission condemned the harassment against community radio stations in Honduras by police and government officials

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

More Articles