Honduran television journalists threatened for covering deadly prison fire

Three journalists from a local television channel in Honduras received death threats for covering the prision fire which killed 350 inmates Feb. 14 in the city of Comayagua, in central Honduras, reported the Committee for Free Expression (C-Libre in Spanish).

Journalist Luis Rodríguez, cameraman Javier Villalobos, and the owner of the channel Catedral TV, Juan Ramón Flores, received messages and calls which warned the journalists: “Stop talking about the fire, or we'll set you on fire," according to the news site Conexihon.

The channel's video footage shows that 90 minutes after the fire started, the prison cells were still closed, and interviews with firefighters revealed that local residents, not the prison guards, were the ones who alerted the fire department, explained C-Libre.

The news host and vice-president of C-Libre, Danilo Osmaro Castellanos, also received threats against him and his family after criticizing the actions of a senior official in the district of Copán, in Western Honduras bordering Guatemala, reported the same organization.

Due to the risks Honduran journalists face, a delegation from the Guatemalan Association of Journalists (APG in Spanish) visited the neighboring country on Feb. 16 to express solidarity with the threatened journalists, according to the newspaper La Tribuna.