PARIS – Censorship continues in Honduras despite the de facto regime’s decision to allow two anti-coup outlets to resume broadcasting, Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday.
“Neither the official lifting of the 28 September state of siege nor the resumption of broadcasting by Radio Globo and Canal 36 (television) means that the rule of law has been restored in Honduras,” the Paris-based organization, known as RSF, said in a statement.
The press freedom watchdog noted that while the de facto regime allowed Globo and Canal 36 to return to the airwaves on Oct. 19, an Oct. 7 decree gives authorities the right to suspend any program or media outlet “fomenting social anarchy.”
RSF described the decree as directly aimed at the few media outlets to oppose the June 28 ouster and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya, who slipped back into Honduras on Sept. 21 and remains holed up at the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa.
“This provision constitutes a real threat to pluralism, an incentive to self-censorship and an additional mechanism for polarizing the media and public opinion,” RSF said.
“The situation is all the more disturbing now that the dialogue attempt between deposed President Manuel Zelaya’s emissaries and the de facto government has collapsed,” the statement added.
The de facto regime contends Zelaya’s ouster was not a coup, insisting that the soldiers who dragged him from the presidential palace and put him on a plane to Costa Rica were simply enforcing a Supreme Court ban on the president’s planned non-binding plebiscite on the idea of revising the constitution.
Though the coup leaders accuse Zelaya of seeking to extend his stay in office, any potential constitutional change to allow presidential re-election would not have taken place until well after the incumbent stepped down.
Time is running out to settle the conflict before Honduras’ Nov. 29 presidential elections, as both the European Union and Washington have said they will not recognize the winner of that balloting unless Zelaya is restored to office beforehand. EFE