Dina Meza is an investigative journalist working for the Committee of Relatives of the Detainees and Disappeared in Honduras, an incredibly difficult environment for press freedom.
Since the country’s 2009 coup d’état there have been a number of cases of the press being attacked and intimidated with impunity. Meza has dedicated her career to reporting on human rights stories shunned by the mainstream media, taking on the police, the security firms, and abusive employers in the process. The abduction and torture of her brother in 1989 by security forces was what initially sent her down this path — “It made me angry, the injustice. I knew then that I had to cover human rights abuses. I never had any choice!” she says.
Because of her work, Meza has been subjected to relentless threats – including threats of sexual violence – followed, watched, and had her communications intercepted. Her three children have also been threatened and followed. She briefly left Honduras to take up a fellowship at the University of York’s Centre for Applied Human Rights as part of their Protective Fellowship scheme. During this time, her children were forced to leave Tegucigalpa for a period due to a suspicious looking man keeping watch outside her younger son’s school.
After returning to Honduras in May 2013, Meza reports that she continues to be subject to harassment and surveillance. She reports having been followed on at least four occasions between May and August, and on 12 August Meza reported being the victim of a suspected attempt to abduct her.
This all happens with complete impunity, as despite her reporting the issues to the police, nothing is ever done. But the idea of giving it up is not an option for Meza: “I could not look into my children’s eyes and tell them I can do nothing about the situation, because to do nothing would be far worse than the threats, beatings or bullets of the police and the military”.
Join us 20 March 2014 at the Barbican Centre for the Freedom of Expression Awards