englishespagñolfrançais
Radio
print the article


Related articles
  1. Strengthening Maya Community Radio in Belize
  2. Training programme for Nigerian radio presenters
  3. Radio Training workshop in South Sudan
  4. Radio Cop22, serving the worldwide community radio movement
  5. The eleventh Catholic Radio operational in Kenya
  6. Radio Exchanges Across Borders
  7. Workshop on interactive radio for family farming and food security in Asia-Pacific
  8. Community radio podcast in the Philippines.
  9. SIGNIS Asia radio workshop in Indonesia
  10. Indian students trained for community radio
  11. Congolese Radio Drama to change Human rights and Health
  12. Cultural Survival Announces Indigenous Community Radio Grant Initiative
  13. Forty years of Radio Veritas Asia’s Mandarin Service
  14. A radio show for HIV positive South-Africans
  15. Liberian radio show on civics education
  16. Inspiration FM... Promoting Morals, Preserving Family Values
  17. Bringing environmental advocacy to Philippine airwaves
  18. Two new Community Radio Stations in Kenya
  19. A new portable FM radio transmitter now available in crisis regions
  20. New radio show to empower Nigerian women
  21. Bangladesh’s first Catholic radio is now on air
  22. A Radio Station To Heal Central African Republic
  23. Community radios in disaster prone Indian disctricts
  24. A radio station in South Sudan tries to reach more audience
  25. Ugandan CBS FM Turns 20
  26. Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication’s (BNNRC) wins UN prize
  27. Radio Maria Malawi mentors young journalists
  28. Community radio stations in Africa
  29. BBC World Service Radio Expands in West Africa
  30. Giyani Community Radio celebrates its 2 years anniversary
  31. AMARC condemns threats against Syrian community radio ARTA FM
  32. Radio station as a tool for Ethiopian farmers
  33. Community Radio seminar on Disaster Risk Reduction
  34. South Africa licences over 140 community radio stations
  35. New Catholic Radio Station in South Sudan
  36. Kasese Guide Radio working for the community in Uganda
  37. AMARC Asia-Pacific reacts to the closing down of community radio stations in Japan
  38. Tackling cholera through radio in Kenya
  39. AMARC to fight against Zika in Latin America and the Carribbean
  40. New community radio in Guatemala
  41. Peace Radio Network launched in South Sudan
  42. Call to participation “Communicating Development”: an international audio series
  43. Radio Emmanuel: giving a voice to the voiceless
  44. Afghan women’s radio
  45. Veritas Pilipinas to receive Hildegarde journalism Award
  46. Women’s voices: an international audio series
  47. The role of community radios in the promotion of Algeria
  48. World Radio Day celebrated around the world
  49. Ghetto Radio: Nairobi’s voice of the streets
  50. World Radio Day
  51. Kokoyah break ground for first community radio station in Botota (Liberia)
  52. Support indigenous community radio in Guatemala
  53. New radio programme to raise awareness of the dangers of climate change
  54. New Catholic radio station seeks to promote peace and reconciliation in Kenya.
  55. Join AMARC for the World Radio Day
  56. The Syliphone archive
  57. "Stories from the soils": a collection of stories
  58. Radyo Natin-Guimba serves as model for new community radio stations in the Philippines
  59. Ethiopian Catholic Church to use radio during the Year of Mercy
  60. First Central American Indigenous Radio Conference
  61. Indian students exposed to community radio
  62. Mediacorp celebrates 80 years of radio with year-long initiative
  63. Premier Radio makes official complaint to Equalities Commission after cinemas ban Nativity advert
  64. Radio sets distributed to promote FM radio in India
  65. Young Ivorian reporters broadcast to their community
  66. New radio habits in Namibia
  67. AMARC International Board met in Paris
  68. The World Radio communication Conference
  69. Radio Maria will be broadcasting in Arabic
  70. UK International Radio Drama Festival 2016
  71. 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence
  72. Second anniversary of the Upendo FM radio station in Kenya
  73. ECOWAS TV and radio channels will come on stream in 2017
  74. Central Mindanao radio station wins CMMA award
  75. Remembering Vatican Radio’s Bernard Decottignies
  76. Preaching across the demilitarized zone in Korea
  77. Indigenous Community Radio Coordinator Visits Radios in Central America
  78. The role of Women in Latin American radio history
  79. BBC stands by ‘unpopular’ religious Radio 4 programmes
  80. International Rafto prize for Honduran Priest and radio activist for defending freedom of expression
  81. Towards COP21: Broadcasting the voices of the communities - An international radio series
  82. AMARC - Global Fund for Radio Campaigns
  83. Jack Byrne, media literacy and Community radio in Dublin
  84. AMARC launches international community radio programme
  85. Sri Lanka : Specialized bible story CDs popular at Colombo book fair
  86. Radio Maria Uganda Gulu Substation embraces the national workshop resolution
  87. Pope Francis to release a pop-rock album!
  88. Portugal : Radio Renascença interviewed Pope Francis
  89. Papua: SSR together with diocesan radio stations
  90. AMARC 11: New management, new challenges for Community Radio broadcasters
  91. Twenty Catholic radio stations will be active in Kenya by 2020
  92. World Radio Day 2015: Youth and Radio
  93. First Christian Radio Launched in Pakistan
  94. Kenyan Diocese of Isiolo Set to Launch its Radio Station
  95. Catholic Radio Journalist Murdered in Central African Republic
  96. Official Opening of the World Radio Day 2013 Platform
  97. Vatican Radio: From Short Waves to New Communications Strategies
  98. SSR Provides New Portable FM Radio Station
  99. Online campaign for Radio Shalom in Sierra Leone
  100. "Kalam Ke Geet", New Audio Production of WAVE Studio Lahore
  101. First UNESCO World Radio Day on February 13
  102. Community Media and the Arab Spring Conference to be held in Tunis March 2012
  103. “Value of Radio” Workshop in Lahore, Pakistan
  104. Vatican Radio: Around the World in 80 Years
  105. L’Osservatore Romano Offers Free Radio Program
  106. AMARC 10 Global Conference in La Plata, Argentina
  107. Australia’s Newest Catholic Media, CRADIO - An Internet Radio Station
  108. Suriname’s Radio Katolika on the Internet
  109. Radio Dialogue Losing Patience over Licence Delays
  110. Haiti: AMARC Calls on Community Broadcasters to Rally in Support
  111. Radio for Peacebuilding Africa Awards 2009 Promotes Empowerment and Peacebuilding
  112. Radio Program Empowers Young People in Cambodia
  113. Radio for Peacebuilding Africa Awards 2009
  114. Faith Satellite Radio and SIGNIS Services Rome Begin a New Phase
  115. 4th Pan African Conference of AMARC Africa Reinforces Community Radio Networks in Africa
  116. Radio Pacis in Uganda Wins Capacity Building Award
  117. Radio BOSCO FM 89.9 Celebrates its 4th Anniversary in the Solomons
  118. Radio Voices Without Frontiers 2009
  119. First World Congress of Catholic Radios Focuses on Identity and Future
  120. H2Onews: Vatican Radio at the Service of Worldwide Radio
  121. H2Onews: The Radio, the Modern Pulpit
  122. H2Onews: World Congress of Catholic Radio
  123. Faith Satellite Radio to Air American Catholic Radio Programming
  124. Faith Satellite Radio to Air Maryknoll Programming
  125. BBC Helps Award Winning Radio Pacis to Launch FM Frequency
  126. Bosco FM Celebrates 3 Years of Community Broadcasting
  127. Zimbabwe: Radio Dialogue Recording from Prison to Be Broadcast on BBC
  128. Cambodia: Catholic Church Uses Radio To Inform, Empower Youth
  129. Faith Satellite Radio Begins Shipping to Africa
  130. Catholic Radio Stations in the US Set to Double
  131. First Conference of AMARC Africa - MENA in Rabat, Morocco
  132. Portuguese-speaking Radios Meet in Portugal on the 10th Anniversary of VOX
  133. Voz Latina Radio wins another Gabriel Award
  134. 19th URTI International URTI Radio Grand Prix
  135. Kenya: Church to open three new radio stations
  136. Pakistan: WAVE Celebrates 30 Years of Interreligious Dialogue
  137. Faith Satellite Radio and SIGNIS to Offer Satellite Radio in Africa
  138. Radio RTK of Malta Celebrates 15 Years of Broadcasting
  139. Trinity FM, Catholic Radio Station of Papua New Guinea Celebrates 4th Anniversary
  140. RKK Calls for Easter Radio Programs
  141. Radio Bakhita, first Catholic radio station in Sudan launched
  142. Voz Latina Radio Wins Gabriel Award
  143. Radio for Peacebuilding Awards 2006
  144. AMARC Launches Forum on Social Impact of Community radio
  145. SIGNIS Africa Radio Workshop in Dar es Salaam: "Behaviour Change Through Radio"
  146. UNICEF/OneWorld Radio competition for Youth Broadcast
  147. Radio Dialogue: Speaking to the Community through "Taxi Tunes"
  148. AMARC Africa Round Table on Community Radio
  149. Community Radio to Come to Kiribati
  150. Malaysia’s First Community Based Online Radio Station Goes on Air
  151. Family Theater Productions podcasting Voz Latina dramatic radio series
  152. Listen to the “Voices of our World” online
  153. Radio BOSCO Solomon Celebrates its First Anniversary
  154. Pontiff Notes a Milestone for Vatican Radio
  155. Asia-Pacific gets new regional network for community radio

International Rafto prize for Honduran Priest and radio activist for defending freedom of expression

Tegucigalpa/Brussels/Bergenn, October 12th, 2015 (SIGNIS/Rafto foundation/America Magazine) On November 1st, 2015, Fr Ismael Moreno Coto Sj (better known as Padre Melo), the Honduran priest, radio activist and human rights campaigner, will receive in Bergenn, Norway, the 2015 Rafto Prize.

The Prize is awarded in recognition of his use of the media in defense of freedom of expression and fundamental rights in Honduras, a country plagued by extreme violence. Journalists, human rights activists and others are subjected to serious harassment and death threats, and the murder statistics have been alarmingly high in the past ten years. In this situation, Padre Melo is a fearless spokesperson who works tirelessly to investigate and communicate the reasons for the violence and abuse committed against vulnerable groups in society. “In proportion to its population, Honduras has the most alarming violation of the freedom of expression in the world”, said Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression to justify the Prize.

Padre Melo SJ : A Radio Activist menaced with death threats

Padre Melo is a 57-year-old Jesuit priest with a background in philosophy and theology who leads two important human rights organisations in the city of El Progreso in Honduras: Radio Progreso and ERIC (Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación) suported by Cafod. He also founded the Honduran edition of the regional journal Envío and the Honduran journal A Mecate Corto, both of which analyse topical social problems. Through his use of radio, his writings in journals and in his work as a priest, Padre Melo has become a strong public advocate of democracy, freedom of expression and human rights. ’If you don’t see things from the viewpoint of the groups whose rights are being constantly violated and whose freedom of expression has been taken from them, then tell me: where is the Christian gospel?’ explained Padre Melo.

JPEG - 11.6 kb
Padre Melo

Every Sunday, Padre Melo holds a service in a small chapel in El Progreso together with musicians, elderly local community leaders and young people. As he says himself, he wants to see God’s splendour shine in the midst of all the cruelty. Despite the fact that Padre Melo has received several death threats and despite the pressure that Radio Progreso and ERIC are under from various powerful groups, he enjoys little support, however, from the Catholic hierarchy in Honduras.

The Jesuit is neither for nor against any specific political party. He is not just critical of the power elite, but also of the political left for not looking after people’s interests. As a result of his strong public voice and searching analyses of society, he enjoys great respect among a wide range of social groups and organisations, including the trade union movement, farmers’ organisations, indigenous peoples’ organisations, residents’ associations in towns and cities, LGBTI organisations, women’s organisations and youth groups

Radio Progreso : A defender of freedom of expression

The lack of freedom of expression and freedom of the press is highlighted by many international organisations. The national media are concentrated in the hands of the economic elite, which also dominates politics in Honduras. The few independent media that do exist are subject to constant attacks and threats, and many journalists are subjected to violent attacks and are forced to exercise self-censorship. According to the UN, 23 journalists and media employees were murdered between 2008 and 2013. PEN International emphasizes that Honduras is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to work as a journalist.

Despite this risk, Radio Progreso has demonstrated the ability and the will to be a critical voice that stands up to the violence and human rights violations that plague Honduran society. Padre Melo became director of the radio station in 2006. It reaches one and a half million listeners of a population of about eight million. The radio station gives a voice to human rights activists, trade unions, small farmers and organisations that rarely have access to the private and national media. It criticises the way in which democracy is practised in Honduras, the corruption and impunity from prosecution enjoyed by people in positions of authority, and policies that threaten natural resources and indigenous land rights. The station strongly criticised the military coup against Zelaya in 2009, following which it was occupied by the military and temporarily closed down.

As a result of its investigative journalism and the alternative information it broadcasts, the editors have received repeated threats, and Padre Melo has received death threats. Two of the radio station staff have been killed despite the Honduran government being ordered by the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to use all available means to protect their lives. The authorities did not investigate the threats, however, and did not take any protective measures. Reporters Without Borders has cited Radio Progreso as an example of global media that operate under constant threat.

Defending Natural Resources and Vulnerable Groups

In 2001, Padre Melo became director of ERIC, a centre for social analysis, research and communication about social and political issues. ERIC was founded in 1980 – a time of conflict in Central America – in order to shed light on the problems in rural Honduras. Today, ERIC helps local community leaders to develop organisations that can safeguard their rights to natural resources and work for social justice in Honduras. Spreading information is one of its most important tasks, and ERIC cooperates closely with Radio Progreso.

A proposal has been put forward to give international companies territorial control of ’development zones’ where they are granted licences to extract natural resources. This has given rise to strong local resistance, and ensuing prosecutions. Since 2013 alone, there have been 3,064 criminal prosecutions against leaders of indigenous groups and human rights campaigners. Both ERIC and Radio Progreso are working actively to prevent major development projects being given the go-ahead without the local population being heard or having any influence. Sexual minorities are at particular risk of violence.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 90 LGBTI persons were murdered between 2009 and 2012, and many more have suffered violence and harassment. The Honduran police are sometimes involved in such acts, but they go unpunished. Padre Melo condemns the violence and advocates inclusion instead of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, and he supports the work of sexual minorities that organise in order to fight for their rights in a society where they are discriminated against and murdered.

Fight for democracy and human rights

“Through the different media channels Padre Melo is in charge of, he provides alternative information about the causes of the human rights crisis in Honduras. He criticises the corrupt democratic and judicial institutions, the widespread impunity from prosecution and militarisation of the public domain. He condemns the oppressive means by which the authorities try to bring the violence under control and he underlines that peaceful resistance and organisation at the grassroots level is the best path to change. He also emphasises dialogue across the social divide despite his criticism of the political elite”, can be read in the Award statement

By awarding Padre Melo the Rafto Prize 2015, the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights , based in Norway, wishes to highlight the profound human rights crisis in Honduras, a country where freedom of expression is under constant attack and where the level of violence is extreme. The Rafto Foundation also wishes to highlight how important freedom of expression is in the defence of human rights, and to draw attention to the oppression and violence that journalists and other critical voices are subjected to when they expose abuses and the misuse of power.

Radio Progreso, ERIC, A Mecate Corto and the Honduran edition of Envío serve as spokespersons for a broad spectrum of social movements. Padre Melo’s critical voice and struggle against all forms of abuse of power have put both his and his closest associates’ lives in danger. Despite this, he continues his uncompromising endeavours for a more just Honduras. The Rafto Foundation wishes to turn the spotlight on Padre Melo’s work as an example of how a non-violent struggle for freedom of expression and fundamental human rights can sow seeds of hope for a better future in one of the most violent countries in the world.

The Rafto award is organised by the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, established in 1986 in memory of Thorolf Rafto, a professor of economic history at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) and a human rights activist. The main objective of the Rafto Foundation is the promotion of freedom of political expression and enterprise. Its work consists of different educational and informative projects, including the annual award of the Rafto Prize .

SIGNIS

print the article