Suppression of OFRANEH in Honduras Intends to Close Community Radios


On Monday, August 14th, the public prosecutor of Honduras, through the Attorney General’s office, emitted a order of appearance to the representatives of the Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH). The order solicits a declaration addressing a complaint filed by the National Commission of Telecommunications (CONATEL), and the presentation of documents of renovation of the radio stations to the regulating body.  Dated August 8th, and signed by the Attorney General Ángeles Maria Figueroa, the document reiterated that if they are not present the day and hour expressed, corresponding penalties will be applied.

Since 2011, OFRANEH has denounced a campaign against community radios in Honduras “to suspend the authorization of permits and licenses of radio-electric frequencies destined for the operation of low power stations”. This is with the pretext that there exists a high saturation of the radio-electric spectrum inside 88-108 Mhz.

After the coup in 2009, Faluma Bimetu radio—a pioneer of community radio in Honduras, with 15 years of existence –was set on fire both in January of 2010 and again in 2011, forcing them to temporally close before multiple threats. On the other hand, La Voz de Zacate Grance has suffered threats of destruction and its reporters have been beaten, in addition to be persecuted by the Public Prosecutor.

In March of 2013, reforms to the Telecommunications Law in the national congress were introduced, unleashing a serious controversy amidst the ambiguity of some of its articles. According to local media, the law would impose censorship and fines of confiscation, the economic sanctions would be an upwards of 20,000 lempiras. In May, the law was frozen in Congress. However, according to OFRANEH, “the redistribution” of the low frequencies beneath the mask of democratization is becoming a fact.”

According to an article published by OFRANEH, the Garifuna community radios arose in 1997, with the intention to defend their culture and territory, installing the first radio-diffuser “Falumu Bimetu” (Sweet Coconut) in Triunfo de la Cruz, one of the communities most heavily affected by the process of deterritorialization promoted by the businessman-politicians and military. “Radio Warugumaen Trujillo” on the other hand, emerged just days after the state coup, amidst a wave of disinformation from the systemic media connected to the coup groups associated with the elite of national power.

Radio Warumuga, since the beginning, has been a rock in the shoe of the municipal authorities. In that beginning period, the municipal authorities pressured the community of Río Negro though the Law of Forced Expropriation, with the objective of appropriating the land of the community and permitting the Canadian businessman Randy Ray Jurgenson, aka the king of porn, to construct a Panamax cruise ship in the bay of Trujillo” highlighted the article (Ofraneh, August 2, 2013).

According to Global Witness, since 2010 more than 120 people have died. The victims have been ordinary people that have opposed dams, mines, logging and agriculture on their land. State forces, security guards or hired assassins have assassinated them. Many others have been threatened, attacked and imprisoned.

Translated from the original here: