Freedom of the Press 2009

  • Freedoms of speech and of the press are constitutionally protected. However, the government often does not respect these rights in practice.
  • Despite the fact that in 2005 Honduras abolished the penal code’s desacato (disrespect) provision, which was aimed at protecting the honor of public officials, other restrictive press laws are still used to subpoena and punish journalists who report on sensitive issues such as official corruption, drug trafficking, and human rights abuses.
  • On November 17, President Manuel Zelaya announced plans for regulatory legislation designed to counter a “culture of death” that he said was propagated by the media.
  • There is some self-censorship among journalists.
  • The government influenced media coverage of its activities by granting selective access to officials.
  • About three dozen journalists, largely in rural areas, were subjected to threats and intimidation in 2008.
  • On January 1, two unidentified men shot and killed Jose Fernando Gonzales, the owner of Radio Mega. Police had identified but not arrested the killers by year’s end.
  • Honduras has nine daily papers.
  • Most of the media sector is owned by a small group of business magnates who also have political interests.
  • There are six private television stations and five nationally broadcasting radio stations—one state owned and four independent.
  • Corruption among journalists and government manipulation of state advertising purchases are common.
  • The government did not restrict access to the internet, and it was used by close to 6 percent of the population in 2008.

2009 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score


Political Environment


Economic Environment