On May 11th 2014, the headline ‘Woman Found Dead in a Hotel’ featured in the violence coverage of the San Pedro Sula-based newspaper, El Heraldo. Although the only way to read this Spanish article was via Google Translate, its clumsy-English interpretation was sufficient in revealing a major hole in the story. The woman wasn’t given a name.
According to Ana Arana and Daniela Guazo from Fundacion MEPI, an organization that promotes regional investigative projects in the Americas, the above story is a mild example of sensationalized crime reporting that dominates the Honduran news industry. ‘When reading most Honduran newspapers, readers go away with little understanding of what is occurring in the country.’ They wrote in their article ‘Just Bloody Pictures’, the second installment in their series on crime reporting in the Honduras. As the title suggests, most crime stories in the Honduras forgo a context and are instead coloured with graphic, gory images. ‘(Their reporting style) is related to the lack of training…They use bloody pictures to sell more newspapers. They don’t care.’ an anonymous member of the Honduran Human Rights Commission was noted as stating the above by Arana and Guazo in Just Bloody Pictures.
It is startling how common this report-style is in the Honduran news industry. A content analysis by Fundacion MEPI revealed that 70% of crime stories published in San Pedro Sula as well as Tegucigalpa did not include details of the victims, nor possible reasons behind the crime. Violent youth gangs, drug traffickers and organized crime groups are not threatened by exposure in the media.
Rather, fear of these dangerous groups fuels crime reporting in these Honduran cities. Its no surprise when the country has the highest per capita murder rate in the world: 91 murders per 100 thousand inhabitants. Until the safety of these journalists is ensured, this issue will continue to instill uninformed-fear in Honduran citizens.
Information aggregated from: http://www.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.elheraldo.hn&sandbox=1
Image taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gabbo_vm/539873408/