New Knight Center map chronicles attacks on journalists in Central America

  • By
  • February 9, 2012

With violence, political unrest and impunity increasingly taking hold of Latin America, freedom of expression is constantly being violated in Central American countries, with journalists being threatened, attacked, intimidated, kidnapped, tortured and killed for political, monetary, criminal and ideological motivations.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has created an interactive map chronicling attacks against journalists in Central America, focusing particularly on arrests, attacks and killings of media workers in the region. The map shows data from March 2010 through December 2011, and reflects patterns found in recent global media reports.

In Honduras, where the press was deemed “not free” according to a 2011 Freedom House report, 17 journalists have been killed since January 2010, making it the country with the second-highest murder rate for journalists in Latin America, after Mexico. None of these crimes against journalists have been solved, pointing to a trend of rampant impunity that is paralleled throughout the region.

While Honduras shows the highest number of attacks against journalists in Central America, Guatemala accounts for eight attacks of the sort.

The extent of violence in other countries is less evident on the map, though three of the five countries showing attacks, killings or arrests dropped several spots on the global 2011-2012 Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders. These countries ranked near or below 100th place globally.

In all of these countries, direct censorship and fear-induced self-censorship are impeding journalists from carrying out their watchdog responsibilities.

This map is part of a series of original projects from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and will be updated as new attacks occur.