Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 102/15

Office of the Special Rapporteur Condemns Killing of Journalist Flor Alba Núñez in Colombia

September 14, 2015


Washington, D.C. – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the killing of journalist Flor Alba Núñez, which took place on September 10 in Pitalito, department of Huila, in southwestern Colombia. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern and urges the Colombian authorities to act promptly and timely to establish the motive of the crime and to activate all the legal instruments available to identify and punish the perpetrators behind this crime.


This is the third journalist killed in Colombia in 2015, after crimes against Luis Peralta Cuéllar, in Caqueta department, and Édgar Quintero, in Valle del Cauca, also southwest of the country.


According to the available information, a man shot Núñez several times from behind when she was getting into La Preferida FM radio station, where she worked. The journalist was taken immediately to a hospital, where she died.


Núñez, who was also correspondent for regional newspaper La Nación and Nación TV, had told colleagues that she had been threatened, according to local media. Also according to press reports, one of the hypothesized motives of the crime is that she had recently informed about gangs engaged in drug trafficking. Another possible motive could be the news coverage on the local elections, which will take place on October 25.


Local authorities offered a 100 million Colombian pesos reward (32,500 US dollars, approximately) to those who contribute with valuable information to clarify the case.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential for the State to clarify the motive for this crime; identify, prosecute, and punish those responsible; and adopt fair measures of reparation for the victim's family. The Office of the Special Rapporteur insists that the State needs to strengthen the existent mechanisms of protection to ensure the safety of those who are being threatened because of their work in journalism.


Principle 9 of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states: "[t]he murder, kidnapping, intimidation of and/or threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression. It is the duty of the state to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation."


The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression was created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to encourage the defense of the right to freedom of thought and expression in the hemisphere, given the fundamental role this right plays in consolidating and developing the democratic system.


R 102/15