IAPA worried about safety and access to information in Honduras

The restriction of information by government officials, journalists' safety and the telecommunications bill in Honduras are the main concerns worrying a committee from the Inter American Press Society, IAPA, visiting the country since May 27. The goal of the visit is to understand the state of the freedom of the press in the country, "follow up on commitments about the application of measures to guarantee protection and fight the impunity of crimes against journalists."

For IAPA, the fact that the police and the Public Safety Secretariat limit the information they give on certain topics to official press releases doesn't only affect their credibility but is also a "very severe" act of censorship. Another particularly serious situation in Honduras is the country's high crime rate, which has turned journalism into a "high risk profession."

In the last few years, 35 communicators were murdered in Honduras, IAPA said. In its 2012 Annual Report on Impunity, IFEX noted that Honduras and Mexico were named the most dangerous countries to practice journalism.

Regarding the bill seeking to integrate the country's communications and telecommunications laws, IAPA said that Honduras should reject it and not "copy models from other countries." The president of the national Congress, Juan Hernández, promised IAPA he would fight against the reforms proposed by the bill.

Honduras' National Commissioner for Human Rights, who has accused the bill of proposing to enforce prior censorship, said he was skeptical about Hernández's promises. "The law may not have been approved, but Congress often surprises us and approves things said to have been forgotten," he said, according to the site Proceso Digital.

President Porfírio Lobo, said he is willing to join "efforts to find a way to guarantee access to freedom of expression to all Hondurans,” reported newspaper El Heraldo.