Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Silencing the Press

by the Witness for Peace Staff in Tegucigalpa

Today we visited Radio Globo, one of the radio stations shut down after de facto leader Micheletti announced a state of emergency on Sunday restricting constitutional rights, including the freedom of the press. Radio Globo and Channel 36 were raided and taken off the air Monday morning.

Police don gas masks to break up a small march Police don gas masks to break up a small march

When we arrived at the protests in front of the raio station, there were more police than protestors. It seems that the massive police intimidation and suspension of constitutional rights is working to keep people off the streets. Despite the low numbers of protestors, the police blocked off the road and used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

David Romero, Director of Radio Globo, told us that Monday morning at 5:00 am, more than 200 armed police gathered outside the radio station. At 5:10, they went upstairs and took control of the radio station, cutting off their transmission and taking all of their equipment. While the station has been shut down before in the 3 months since the coup, this is the first time the police have taken their equipment.

WFP interviews David Romero WFP interviews David Romero

"This assault on the public media is illegal and unconstitutional… We are taking legal measures to reclaim our rights to freedom of speech and our property… Our station has been threatened and our transmission cut off with no respect to the law, and now we have had all of our equipment stolen illegally."

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