Honduran president calls for plebiscite on media democratization

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo criticized media organizations for reporting on the roaring violence in the country, which includes the highest murder rate in the world at 92 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. "Can people in 'x' place have a television channel or a radio station where they can broadcast messages of peace and hope and violence prevention or do we have to swallow what the monopolies demand," said the president, according to El Heraldo.

At a meeting with the Council of Minister where 2013 was declared the "National Year of Violence Prevention," President Lobo proposed a ballot initiative for the elections in November to hold a plebiscite on the democratization of radio and television frequencies, according to La Prensa.

Earlier, the director of the National Agrarian Institute, César Ham, had criticized the broadcast of telenovelas and television shows about drug trafficking and organized crime and called on the media to promote the right to life and peace, according to a report from the newspaper Tribuna.

Lawyer Rodolfo Dumas and member of the Inter American Press Association opined that the proposed initiative is a government move to create an "arsenal of massive distraction" considering the high levels of insecurity and unemployment Honduras confronts, according to La Prensa.

In December, President Lobo also accused two newspapers of plotting a coup d'état against him after reporting on a disagreement between the Central American country's judicial and executive branches.

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.