When Reporting the News Means Risking Your Life
Honduran journalist Nahum Palacios Arteaga was shot dead while driving, receiving thirty bullets in his body. This is the third journalist that has died within two weeks in Honduras, the other two being David Meza Montesinos and Joseph Ochoa. None of the cases have been solved.
Honduras is going through a tumultuous time, to say the least. President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup last year, and although a new president was sworn in less than two months ago, violence and instability continue to plague the country.
Journalist Cesar Silva gave a fascinating interview where he describes how he and his news crew were captured the day the now deposed president was captured. He was released due to public pressure, but soon started to receive threats and was finally kidnapped. He suffered incredible torture, only to be dumped in a mountainous and isolated area. With the help of human rights organizations, he escaped Honduras and now lives in exile. He poignantly describes the most difficult part of living an exiled life:
Maybe it’s the hurry of leaving everything abandoned; your home, your family, the stuff you had a hard time sacrificing for…
The difficulty in arriving in the new place is getting rid of the hatred and to stop thinking of what you left behind. You have to live here as a ‘nobody’ so that no one can find you and you can avoid the risks. The dreams abandon you, the uncertainty eats you.
Journalists hold a great responsiblity in that they act as interpreters for the world, letting us know what is happening in our hometowns or on the other side of the world. What is truly stunning is that they can be perceived as so dangerous or threatening that they can risk being kidnapped, tortured or killed.
The day after Palacios Arteaga’s death, journalists in Honduras took to the streets to protest, calling for an end to violence and for justice for the three slain journalists. With the extreme risks they face, it’s admirable that Honduran journalists continue to speak out.