President of Honduras accuses two newspapers of advocating a coup d'état against him

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo accused two newspapers of conspiring against him after they published a statement from the Central American country's Supreme Court demanding he respect the judicial branch's independence, according to a report from the newspaper La Prensa.

Lobo said that businessman Jorge Canahuati, owner of the newspapers La Prensa and El Heraldo, attempted to incite a coup d'état against him similar to the one that took place on June 28, 2009, when the newspapers published a court ruling that declared some articles unconstitutional in the Police Purge Law supported by the head of state, according to El Faro.

Grupo Opsa, which publishes both newspapers, released a statement claiming the president's accusations were unfounded and threatened freedom of expression. The group said it would hold the Honduran government responsible if anything happened to the publications' employees or directors. "Grupo Opsa laments and profoundly and categorically rejects the declarations of the Constitutional President of Honduras," read the state released on Dec. 7.

"If [Jorge Canahuati] is opposed to the police purge I am against him and I will fight against him," President Lobo told the media. In its defense, the newspaper La Prensa said that its reporters denounced the infiltration of organized crime into the police force before the Honduran government decided to take up the issue.

In another recent event, during the Second National Congress of Human Rights, President Lobo said that he was "against those freedom of expression merchants" and asked that the minister of Justice and Human Rights, Ana Pineda, review the role of the media, according to the newspaper La Tribuna.

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.