Stand with Dina Meza – a journalist under threat in Honduras
Aspiring writers might dream of being an award-winning journalist with access to a wealth of captivating stories on crime, corruption and political intrigue. But what’s the reality in countries where freedom of speech is under serious threat?
Take Honduras, where 35 journalists are reported to have been killed since the coup d’etat in June 2009. Countless more have been subjected to intimidation, threats and worse for their role in exposing corruption and human rights violations, which would otherwise remain shrouded in secrecy.
Dina Meza, a 51-year old journalist, human rights activist and mother of three, is one of those. Dina has been subjected to surveillance, harassment, threats and intimidation since 2006, when she investigated labour rights violations. These were no idle threats; one of her colleagues also involved in the investigation was subsequently murdered. The vast majority of these attacks and threats are carried out with impunity.
No surprise then that we are extremely concerned for the safety of Dina and her family after her harassment and intimidation has increased, again.
Since May she has been followed on several occasions - on one occasion by someone on a motorbike with no licence plates. Unknown individuals have taken photos of her and a close family member and she has also received threatening phone calls. Add this to past death threats and threats of sexual violence and it’s clear that her work investigating and reporting human rights violations puts her at serious risk.
In 2007 Dina Meza received Amnesty International UK’s Special Award for Human Rights Journalism under Threat. During a recent visit to the UK I was able to take Dina to meet Andy Sawford MP, and she explained that journalists were increasingly adopting a degree of self-censorship when it came to reporting corruption, drug trafficking, human rights violations and the like. He’s since spoken out about the risks journalists face in Honduras – something both we and Dina are very grateful for.
So what motivates Dina Meza to continue exposing such events and reporting them widely? She says she owes it to her children to hand them a better country. “Only by talking about it will things change. Silence gives them a licence to continue. I don’t want to be a heroine, but I have to be brave and stand up.”
Stand with Dina now! Call on the Honduran authorities to investigate the threats and intimidation, bring those responsible to justice and provide proper protection for Dina.
Simply download the urgent action file and a pre-prepared letter to send or email. Feel free to adapt the letter, and if you post your letter it shouldn’t cost more than £1.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.