Zelaya supporters blast Honduras media crackdown
October 12th, 2009 - 9:27 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

Supporters of deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya have warned an interim government crackdown on opposition media could derail talks scheduled to resume on Tuesday and aimed at resolving the months-old political crisis. “It is a really appalling issue, something right out of a dictatorship,” said Sunday Rafael Alegria, a leading coordinator of protests against the ouster of Zelaya, the elected president.

A government decree published in the official Gazette on Saturday gave authorities the right to “revoke and cancel” licenses of radio and television stations considered to be a threat to “national security” and accused of spreading “hatred.”

Last month, the government of Roberto Micheletti, which came to power as the result of a June 28 military coup, already shut down Radio Globo and Channel 36 television seen as close to Zelaya and restricted freedom of assembly and movement. The new decree gives the coup leaders legal grounds for future similar measures, according to analysts.

“The new decree is simply aimed at silencing us once and for all,” said Channel 36 director Esdras Lopez. He charged that Micheletti was trying to keep the television channel for his own use.