57th General Assembly Washington, DC October 12 – 16, 2001 HONDURAS Actions to intimidate journalists have become more frequent, ranging from verbal or physical attacks to lawsuits, which have become routine. The creation in 1979 of the Journalists Colegio of Honduras has hobbled press freedom, since one must be a member to work as a journalist. Many media companies have decided to evade this law, but they expose themselves to economic sanctions, while individuals who practice journalism illegally can go to jail. The colegio has suspended for one year 50 journalists who are behind in their dues, which are the equivalent of $2 a month. Lawsuits against journalists and attempts to intimidate them have increased but most media outlets have continued to make space available for the public’s complaints and reports. On September 24, Fredy Pineda of Canal 5’s television news program got into a fistfight with the trainer of the national soccer team, Ricardo Angeles, of Peruvian descent, while trying to conduct an interview. Angeles has ordered his players not to give interviews unless he ordered it. This is what caused the dispute with the journalist. The journalist’s lawyer sued the trainer, and when he was detained, a journalist from Diario La Prensa began to take pictures, causing several soccer plays to jump on him, insult him and take away his camera. The hospital in El Progreso ordered its security guards to keep journalists out, saying they were only looking for negative news. In Tela, Carlos Martínez, who has a radio program, was arrested when agents of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation burst into the station without a warrant. Martínez was detained because his boss was annoyed by a commentary he was making at the time. After the incident was reported, the police chief was dismissed and the journalist was released for lack of a case. Evaristo Euceda, the mayor of La Lima, sued journalist Arnulfo Canales for defamation because of articles about corruption in community organizations that Canales had published in Diario Tiempo. Police reporters have often been attacked by police officers who try to stop them from covering crimes. Modesto Acosta, a journalist in Ocotepeque, in the western part of the country, was jailed after a trial initiated by state officials, whom he had accused of corruption. Journalists in Honduras are handicapped in these trials because most of them do not have enough money to pay for their defense.