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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 01:23 GMT 02:23 UK
Honduras TV gets government order
By Will Grant
BBC News Americas editor

Manuel Zelaya
Mr Zelaya is president of one of central America's poorest nations
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has ordered all the country's TV and radio stations to carry government propaganda for two hours a day.

He says that the short-term measure is necessary because of unfair coverage of his government.

Mr Zelaya recently accused the owners of the country's news media of exploiting political and social problems in Honduras to get rich.

He won elections in November 2005, but has poor relations with the media.

Last month, Mr Zelaya unsuccessfully tried to get Congress to ban the publication of reports on violent crime - a massive problem in Honduras.

Military tactics?

However, in this latest measure he has imposed his will on the country's media outlets.

Map

From Monday, 28 May, hundreds of TV and radio channels will be forced to broadcast simultaneous interviews with him and with government ministers.

The aim, said Mr Zelaya, was to allow them to explain a series of projects and measures which are underway, and in so doing counteract what he called misinformation about his government.

The country's main journalists' union immediately called on the president to revoke his decision, in which he has employed special powers rarely used by democratically-elected governments.

The union compared the move to the military governments which ruled Honduras until the early 1980s.

Media concerns

The main opposition party has attacked the president, saying he is becoming authoritarian.

President Zelaya's measure comes as press freedom in Latin America is being closely scrutinised.

On Sunday, an opposition TV channel in Venezuela is due to be taken off the air as its licence to broadcast expires.

President Hugo Chavez has refused to renew the licence as he accuses the channel of supporting an attempted coup against him in 2002.


SEE ALSO
Concession brings Honduras result
08 Dec 05 |  Americas
Tension rises over Honduras poll
29 Nov 05 |  Americas
Nine held over Honduras massacre
27 Dec 04 |  Americas
Honduras prison rioting kills 13
06 Jan 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Honduras
22 Nov 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Honduras
22 Nov 05 |  Country profiles

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