Honduran journalist facing death threats

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Her Excellency Sofia Lastenia Cerrato Rodriguez
151 Slater Street, Suite 805
Ottawa, ON, K1P 5H3
FAX (613) 232-0193

August 24, 2011

Excellency,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is concerned by the numerous death threats made to journalist Carlos Alberto Medina Polanco, reported by our IFEX colleagues at Honduras-based organisation C-Libre. Carlos is the brother of journalist Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco, who was assassinated by three unidentified assailants while walking home from work on May 10, 2011. Before his death, Héctor had implicated public officials in acts of corruption.

In addition to the death threats, Carlos Polanco’s sixteen-year old daughter was kidnapped, assaulted and questioned about his activities for three hours on June 10, 2011. Despite reporting both crimes to the National Criminal Investigations Department (DNIC) no action has been taken to ensure the safety of Carlos Medina Polanco or his family.

C-Libre has received word from many journalists facing death threats including Radio Progreso correspondent Roberto García Fúnez, and Canal 36 television journalists Esdras Amado López and Mario Rolando Suazo. Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco had also filed complaints with national and international officials over the death threats he received prior to his assassination.

CJFE urges the government of Honduras to treat threats of violence against journalists with the utmost urgency. CJFE respectfully requests that the government of Honduras follow through with its investigations into these crimes, and make it a top priority to protect the right to free expression and the safety of Honduran journalists.

We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President

Cc: Cameron MacKay, Canadian Ambassador to Honduras;
The Honourable John Baird, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs