Honduran police end 2011 by attacking, threatening two TV journalists

The December holidays did not bring a respite for journalists under attack in Honduras. The Committee for Freedom of Expression in Honduras (C-Libre in Spanish) expressed concern that members of the National Police threatened a cameraman with death and intimidated a television correspondent during the last days of 2011. As a result, the Spanish organization Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT in Spanish) sent a letter to Honduran president Porfirio Lobo demanding efficient measures to stop aggression against journalists in Honduras, reported El Heraldo.

On Christmas Eve, the homicide police agent a news TV photographer, Uriel Gudiel Rodríguez, who works for Channel 45 in the city of Danlí, in the south of this Central American country.

Rodríguez said the threats were a result of images broadcast of the main suspect in the killing of resistance leader Mahadeo Roopchand Sadloo, alias Emo. During the wake for the leader, members of the Honduran resistance captured police officer Reide Arturo Ardón, related to the officer who threatened the cameraman. Rodríguez denied having filmed the images, according to C-Libre.

Rodríguez also had been attacked by police on two prior occasions, in March and May of 2011 while covering student protests, reported IFEX.

Also at the end of December, Leonel Espinoza, TV correspondent for Cadena NTN 24 of Colombia, said he was intercepted by police while driving his car in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. Suspicious, the journalist tried to flee, at which point police shot at his vehicle and made him get out of the car, according to the newspaper Tiempo. Espinoza said he screamed for help and ran.

The journalist appealed to the U.S. embassy for protection and filed a complaint with the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation, according to C-Libre.

With 17 journalists killed since 2010, Honduras is the second-most dangerous country for journalists in the Americas.