Target: Attorney General Oscar Chinchilla Banegas
Goal: Protect freedom of the press and the safety of journalists in Honduras, where journalists face threats and violence as a result of their work
For months leading up to his death, journalist Juan Carlos Argeñal feared for his safety. On December 7, 2013, he was shot to death at his home in Danlí in the southern part of Honduras. Help honor the memory of Juan Carlos Argeñal and the many other journalists in Honduras who have been killed, threatened, hurt, or harassed, by advocating for more effective legal protections for journalists as well as calling for a full and impartial investigation into Argeñal’s recent tragic death.
Journalists play an integral role in documenting human rights abuses and bringing them to light. Amnesty International has observed an increasing number of threats and violence against journalists in Honduras. Lawyers are also at risk, and Amnesty reports that thirty journalists and seventy lawyers have been killed in Honduras in the past three years. The uptick in violence corresponds with the installment of the current government. In the lead-up to Honduras’s most recent election, the media reported that many candidates were subject to threats and attacks, particularly those of the LIBRE party (incidentally, Juan Carlos Argeñal was affiliated with LIBRE and did activist work on its behalf.)
A free press is one of the cornerstones of a modern nation founded on principles of justice and respect. Clearly, something is going awry in Honduras. Journalists are meant to be an integral part of a system of checks and balances, and the current state of affairs in Honduras is preventing them from doing their jobs properly and threatening their safety. But Honduras cannot silence voices from outside its borders. Sign the petition and urge the Honduran government to establish protections for journalists and commit to following through on them, and demand investigations into the deaths of journalists like Juan Carlos Argeñal.
Dear Attorney General,
In modern government, the press is a key component of a system of checks and balances. Restricting the freedom of the press throws off the entire system and leaves both journalists and the citizens they serve vulnerable to harm from those within their own government. With this in mind, I implore you to take a long, hard look at the protections Honduras offers to journalists. I urge you to update and improve the measures in place to guarantee a safe, free press, and I demand full investigations into incidents of violence against journalists.
Juan Carlos Argeñal was a journalist for Radio Globo and Globo TV and was active in the LIBRE political party. Until his violent and untimely death on December 7, 2013, he spent his career writing about government corruption. Aníbal Barrow, another journalist working for Globo, was abducted and killed in late June of the same year. These deaths are part of a troubling pattern of rising violence toward journalists; Amnesty International reports that thirty journalists have been killed after the installment of the current government in 2010.
I demand justice for Aníbal Barrow and Juan Carlos Argeñal. I demand protection for other journalists. And most of all, I call for a Honduran commitment to a press that is free from violence, threats, and harassment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Marc Mongenet via Wikimedia Commons