Por GILDA CALDERÓN
EL NUEVO SOL
Leonardo Guevara, news director at Radio Progreso in Honduras, talked to CSUN students last April 17 about the dangers and challenges of community radio journalists in Honduras.
In a country torn by corruption and violence, many Hondurans struggle to find a news outlet not influenced by the government or owned by one of Honduras most powerful families, which own the entire country.
Since 1996, community radios were established specifically for this purpose: To serve as a legitimate news medium to help the citizens of Honduras come together and become informed of various news items that are often withheld from them. These radios focus on a wide range of issues, such as political activism, environmental causes and women’s issues. Unfortunately, this comes at a great price.
— Leonardo Guevara (@LeoGuevara_Tela) April 18, 2017
Because of the extreme unscrupulousness that takes place in Honduras, many community journalists face the risks of having their local stations be burned to the ground. Even worse, they run the risk of getting killed by a powerful figure if they are found to be speaking against the government. Just last year, in March, Berta Caceres, environmental activist and major spokesperson for the rights of the indigenous in Honduras, was executed, after many years of receiving threats against her life.
Because community radios don’t have economic support, they are forced to manufacture their own radio equipment from scratch. This is the reason they are called “hechizos” which means “magic spells,” because putting together a radio station together using separate electronic parts is somewhat like magic.
Community radios have no laws to protect them from government actions. This makes them an easy target for government abuse. Many times, they are forced to relocate or their radio equipment is confiscated, so they would be unable to continue broadcasting.
Guevara is aware of the risk he puts on himself for being a community radio news coordinator. When asked by students what was is motivation, he answered:
“I would love to see a new Honduras, free from corruption, to leave a better future for generations to come”.