On October 23, 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hold a Thematic Hearing on Examining Freedom of Expression in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala during its 156th Session in Washington DC. Read more from Indigenous Peoples’ rights group Cultural Survival:
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Camp, Deputy Executive Director, Cultural Survival, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-441-5400 x 11
Angelica Rao, Executive Coordinator, Cultural Survival, email@example.com, 647-624-3084
Without A Secured Right to Freedom of Expression, There Is No Democracy In Central America
On October 23, 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hold a Thematic Hearing on Examining Freedom of Expression in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala during its 156th Session in Washington DC. Organized by Asociación Mundial de Radios Comunitarias (AMARC-Subregión Centroamérica), Asociación de Medios Comunitarios de Honduras (AMCH), Asociación de Radios Comunitarias de Guatemala (ARCG), Asociación Sobrevivencia Cultural, Central American Institute for the Study of Social Democracy (DEMOS), Comité por la Libre Expresión (C Libre), Cultural Survival, Fundación de la Comunicación para el Desarrollo (Comunicándonos), Junta Ciudadana por el Derecho Humano a la Comunicación and Mujb’ab’l yol: Encuentro de Expresiones, the session seeks to shine a spotlight on the daily rights violations that Indigenous journalists and communities face when exercising the universal right to freedom of expression and communication.
These basic rights make up the foundation of a well functioning democracy, yet communities in Central America share a common experience, history and reality that citizens’ freedom of expression and the right to communication are not evenly respected and guaranteed. Indigenous journalists and community radio operators, despite physical threats, state persecution, and even risk of death, continue to exercise their rights in order to serve their communities.
El Salvador’s democracy is threatened by media concentration. Five commercial groups have historically held ownership of the radio frequency spectrum. Ex-president Elias Antonio Saca owned six radio frequencies when he began as president, and fourteen by the end of his presidency. The law does not distinguish between public, private or community radio; all frequencies are auctioned to the highest bidder and no state entity exists to regulate radio broadcasting. Continue reading