The press has been shaken in this period by the murder of three journalists that might have been politically motivated and linked to organized crimes. In addition, not all the circumstances that surrounded the political crisis that arose in June 2009, which sparked strong repression of news media and threats to and intimidation of journalists by groups of supporters of the two sides in conflict, have disappeared. In this period a campaign has been unleashed of the discrediting and persecution of independent media, editors and reporters, engaged in particularly by supporters of former president Manuel Zelaya. During the last two months of 2009 there was an intensification of a campaign of intimidation and attacks using various methods – on the Internet, graffiti and mobile phone text messages – aimed at editors, reporters and executives of independent media. The Attorney General’s Office took action against soldiers who during the political crisis took some news media facilities by force, however such cases have begun to be dismissed following the declaration of amnesty by the new administration. The new government, which came to power in elections in November 2009 and is headed by President Porfirio Lobo Sosa of the National Party, took office on January 27. Lobo has promised unrestricted freedom of expression in the country and on February 18 added his signature to the Declaration of Chapultepec. In his address the president of Honduras said he was “very committed by conviction to what is respect of unrestricted freedom of thought and opinion, to express opinions, to report the news and that no one may curtail it, and in this government what I ask is that you help us because in the end we can all make a contribution.” In 2009 at least three journalists were murdered in the country, with so far the identity of those responsible remaining unknown, much less the guilty being brought to justice. The authorities have given no indication as to who carried out the abduction and then the murder of journalist Bernardo Rivera Paz, who was kidnapped on March 13, 2009, his body being found on July 9. Neither have those who masterminded and carried out the murder of Radio Cadena Voces reporter Santiago Rafael Munguía on March 31, 2009, been identified, nor are there any clues concerning the July 3 murder of Gabriel Fino Noriega, 51, correspondent of Radio América in San Juan Pueblo, Atlántida province. He was killed as he was leaving Radio Estelar, where he hosted a program. Another sad case was an attack on March 1, 2010 in which a journalist lost his life. Joseph Hernández Ochoa, a reporter with Canal 5l television, died from gunshot wounds when he, along with female reporter Carol Cabrera of the state-owned Canal 8 channel, were attacked from a moving vehicle in downtown Tegucigalpa. Hernández Ochoa died at the scene, while Cabrera was rushed to the Escuela hospital and although she was shot twice in the side and once in the left arm she is now out of danger. The attack took place in the part of town known as El Chile at around 8:00 p.m. as the two were driving to Cabrera’s home in the Cerro Grande neighborhood. The assailants shot at least 10 times, three shots hitting Cabrera and the rest Hernández Ochoa, host of the program “Encuentros” (Encounters) broadcast by Canal 51. Cabrera works for a news program on Radio Cadena Voces and also has a program on the state-owned Canal 8. In her work at the latter she is known for her defense of former president Roberto Micheletti (July 2009 to January 2010) and for her repeated questioning of Zelaya supporters. Security Ministry spokesman Leonel Sauceda reported that Cabrera had police protection for the past three weeks. He said the police officer protecting her was at her home, as she had organized for the police to be deployed there. According to Suceda the attack had been directed at Cabrera. Cabrera reported on several occasions having received threats believed to have come from members of the self-styled Zelayist Resistance. On December 15, 2009 her daughter, Katherine Nicolle Rodríguez, was shot to death in the same part of the El Chile neighborhood. Police reports said the assailants’ objective was to kill Cabrera. Also murdered was radio and television reporter David Meza Montesinos, 51, killed in La Ceiba, Atlántida province. The crime was committed on March 11 by unidentified assailants who followed him and shot him before he reached his home. He had been reporting in recent days on land disputes staged by groups of peasants at African palm nurseries and he also reported on violence and deaths linked to the illicit drug trade in the area. Police have as yet no clues as to who murdered him. Another communicator, reporter Nahúm Palacios , 34, was murdered on March 14 in the city of Tocoa, on the Atlantic coast of Honduras, thus becoming the third victim of the year. The young journalist was downed by shots from unknown assailants from a moving vehicle. He was the news director of Televisora del Aguán and had a news program on Radio Tocoa. A woman accompanying Palacios in his car was wounded, while a cameraman sitting in the back seat was grazed by a bullet. In mid-January this year there went on sale in Tegucigalpa a 16-page booklet titled “Tornillo sin fin” (Unending Screw), believed to be the responsibility of Honduran students, with content attacking and insulting prominent political, business and press figures, such as journalists with various independent news media, among them Renato Alvarez of the Televicentro Corporation, Rodrigo Won Arévalo and Armando Villanueva of Canal 10 television, Carlos Mauricio Flores and Fernando Barrios of El Heraldo, María Antonio de Fuentes of La Prensa, Adán Elvir Flores, Edgardo Duma Rodríguez, Daniel Villeda and Talavera of La Tribuna, Edgardo Melgar of Hoy Mismo, Luis Edgardo Vallejo of Radio América, and Rómulo Matamoros and Rosendo García of HRN. In one of the articles, headlined “Voceros podridos de la oligarquía asesina” (Rotten Spokesmen of the Murderous Oligarchy) editors are denigrated and threatened, among them José Rafael Ferrari of Televicentro Corporation, Carlos Flores Facussé of La Tribuna, Jorge Canahuati Larach of El Heraldo and La Prensa, Elías Asfura of Canal 30, and Juan Bendeck of Teleprogeso, among others. In addition, the self-styled National Popular Resistance Front – a group of organizations of Zelaya supporters – in communiqué number 51 dated March 5 attacked various news media. The number 3 of that communiqué, in referring to agricultural sector problems, especially media coverage of a land dispute on the country’s Atlantic coast, said, “We denounce the news media of the oligarchy, especially the newspapers La Prensa and El Heraldo, owned by Jorge Canahuati Larach, and the television channels of the Televicentro Corporation, owned by Rafael Ferrari, which seek to show working families and populist leaders as terrorists.” Participants in a march that took place on February 20 in the capital organized by that same group of Zelaya supporters daubed graffiti containing insults against news media and journalists on the walls of businesses, churches and public offices. Other developments and denunciations in this period: On November 24 Canal 50 of Ocotepeque journalist Modesto Acosta reported that the chief public prosecutor for the western district was not allowing him to do his work as a journalist. On November 25 an explosive device blew up at the Torre Libertad (Freedom Tower) building from which Canal 10 and its program “Abriendo brecha” (Opening Up a Gap) broadcast, located on Suyapa Boulevard. Francisco Mejía, an executive of the channel, reported that the device was hurled in early morning hours against the front of the building by two men on a motorcycle. On November 29 Spanish journalist Mario Garcón Aranda was detained and held for several hours by National Police officers as he was taking photographs in downtown Tegucigalpa, the Human Rights Committee (Codeh) reported. Marlen Cruz, Codeh’s attorney, said Garcón was arrested for allegedly violating Article 213 of the Electoral Law which says that no foreigner may come to the country and call for abstention from voting. On December 28 journalist César Silva was beaten and kidnapped for more than 24 hours by several armed men in a white vehicle. Silva has been a prominent activist of former president Manuel Zelaya. He said that on that Monday he was riding in a taxi in the Loarque neighborhood of the capital city when he noticed he was being followed by a white vehicle, which shortly afterwards intercepted the taxi, two people in it drew their guns, opened the taxi doors and pulled him out, then shoved him into their vehicle. He was held for 24 hours before being released. On January 13 death threats were made in phone calls and text messages on cellular phones to Misael Cárcamo and academic José Salomón Orellana of the radio station Católica Santa Rosa y Estéreo Emeaus, which broadcasts their program “Dando en el Clavo” (Hitting the Nail on the Head). On February 22, at the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Honduran courts dismissed the case against a group of members of the Armed Forces that during the political crisis raided the premises of Radio Globo radio station, known to have an editorial stance supporting Zelaya. The dismissal decision was made under terms of an amnesty voted by the National Congress and upheld by President Porfirio Lobo Sosa on January 27.