Report to the Midyear Meeting
April, 19-22 2022

This period press freedom was affected during the November elections due to the lack of transparency regarding the funds used in the political campaign, despite the existence of a Clean Politics Office or Unit - which requires pre-candidates to report on the resources used in the political campaign.

President Xiomara Castro had promised in her political campaign to make several changes to combat corruption and promote transparency, such as eliminating the Secrecy Law - which shielded officials from disclosing their administrative decisions, bids and budgets.

The Secrecy Law was repealed by Congress on March 1 after a lengthy debate - backed by the majority of representatives - and its repeal was published on April 4 in the official newspaper La Gaceta.

The law, approved on January 24, 2014, infringed on the right to access public information and the principle of transparency by shielding as reserved, confidential, secret or top secret - for 5, 10 and up to 25 years - information related to more than 20 government ministries and departments.

On January 9, Pablo Isabel Hernández Rivera, 34, was murdered while on his way to church in the municipality of San Marcos de Caiquín - in the western province of Lempira. Hernández Rivera was director and journalist at the community radio station Tenán 94.1 F.M, La voz indígena Lenca - and was known in his community for his critical coverage of local issues. The radio station also rebroadcasts the program Voces contra el olvido (Voices Against Oblivion) from the Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH).

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and its Special Rapporteur for Press Freedom were informed that in recent years Hernández Rivera had denounced threats against his life and asked the national authorities to investigate the crime.

A total of 85 journalists or media owners have been murdered in the last twenty years - most recently three in 2019 and four in 2020 - according to the organization Reporters Without Borders.

In March, Claudia Ramírez - representative from the Salvador Party of Honduras (PSH) - presented an initiative aimed at having CONATEL order national radio and TV stations to "provide on a mandatory basis and free of charge, advertisements on social scourges - thus performing an educational function within society."

Carlos Ortiz - president of the Honduran Press Association (APH) - criticized the initiative for being an interference on the use of content.

The Media Association (AMC) rejected the initiative, which seeks to impose mandatory broadcasting of messages ordered by decree from a government agency, considering it abusive and populist - a clear intrusion on private enterprise.

Carlos Mauricio Flores - managing editor of the newspaper El Heraldo - reported to the Public Prosecutor's Office the death threats received by journalist Yony David Bustillo Centeno.
Yuri Mora - spokesman for the Public Prosecutor's Office - reported that the Special Prosecutor's Office for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Justice Activists carried out investigations at the main offices of the Fire Department regarding the irregular purchase of fire trucks - on which El Heraldo had reported.