Harassment & Death Threats Won’t Deter Award-Winning Journalist in Honduras
Honduras is nestled in the beautiful landscape of Central America. However, the country is in crisis.
Crime, violence, corruption and human rights abuses are rife across Honduras. They have reached unprecedented levels since 2009, when the democratically elected president was ousted in a coup. In 2013 Honduras had the highest murder rate in the world. Perpetrators of killings and other violent crimes are rarely brought to justice. Powerful forces mute those seeking to expose corruption and human rights abuses using intimidation, defamation, violence, and death threats. There has been a string of targeted killings of prosecutors, journalists and human rights activists. All this is a clear attempt to instill fear in anyone who seeks to challenge the status quo and to keep the country’s turmoil away from the international eye.
Dina Meza is a mother of three and has a long career as a journalist and a human rights defender in Honduras. She has spent years investigating and reporting on human rights violations across the country, and challenging impunity. Her tireless work has exposed cases of high-level corruption and abuse, and has helped bring these stories to international attention. Dina has won numerous awards, including Amnesty International UK’s Special Award for Human Rights Journalism Under Threat and Oxfam Novib / PEN International’s Freedom of Expression Award.
Dina works at incredible personal risk. She is subjected to harassment, intimidation and death threats, and has previously had to flee Honduras for her own safety. In spite of this, Dina refuses to give up what she believes is a critical job. She is determined to fight censorship and is driven by the prospect of building a peaceful and fairer home for her children.
Investing in a new idea
Dina recently set up an organization called Periodismo y Democracia – Journalism & Democracy – to help journalists in Honduras get greater protection and to provide a safer way for them to share stories without censorship. Journalism & Democracy is launching an on-line newspaper and web portal where journalists, media personnel and marginalized groups across Honduras can document abuses and work more collaboratively to expose them. It is also developing new national and global networks to build a stronger voice against the country’s dire human rights situation and to make sure it isn’t forgotten.
The Fund for Global Human Rights saw the great potential in Dina and Journalism & Democracy and provided vital seed funding to help make Dina’s idea a reality.