OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION CONDEMNS THE ASSASINATION OF JOURNALIST IN VENEZUELA
Washington, D.C., June 19, 2006. The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the OAS condemns the assassination of Mr. José Joaquín Tovar, director of the weekly Ahora. The Rapporteurship urges Venezuelan authorities to investigate this incident swiftly and effectively and to ensure that the persons responsible are duly punished.
According to the information received by the Rapporteurship, Mr. Tovar’s body was found with 11 gunshots wounds on June 16, 2006 at the entrance of the parking lot of the building where the weekly Ahora operates in the city of Caracas. As director of the weekly Ahora, Mr. Tovar wrote editorial columns where he denounced acts of corruption.
Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression notes that: “The 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 emphasizes that according to the American Convention on Human Rights, States have the duty to prevent, investigate, and punish all violations of rights recognized therein. A meticulous, effective, and swift investigation into the crimes against journalists and others who work with the media is essential to send a firm message that the State does not tolerate such grave violations of the right to freedom of expression, and to assure journalists that they can continue to do their work safely.
For More Information on the Office of the Special Rapporteur: http://www.cidh.org/relatoria