Freedom of Expression






Washington, D.C., September, 29, 2009- The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of journalist Norberto Miranda Madrid, editor of the digital media outlet Radio Visión, which took place on September 23 in the city of Nuevo Casas Grandes, in Chihuahua, Mexico. The Special Rapporteur calls on the Mexican authorities to adopt effective mechanisms to prevent impunity in cases of crimes against journalists and to implement adequate mechanisms to protect journalists who are at risk.


According to the information received, on Wednesday, September 23, at 10:20 p.m., a heavily armed group of individuals burst into the newsroom of the online media outlet and fired several shots at the journalist. Miranda Madrid, who wrote a column under the pen name "El Gallito" (Little Rooster), had recently called attention to the lack of security in the north of Mexico, especially around Casas Grandes, where 25 people had allegedly been killed since the beginning of September. According to reports, Miranda Madrid had also told other journalists that he had been threatened after publishing a news item related to the arrest of members of the Juárez Cartel.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression urges the Mexican authorities to investigate the killing of Miranda Madrid and to ensure that those responsible are duly tried and punished. It also calls on the State to resolutely advance existing investigations into crimes and threats against journalists, and to act as soon as possible to adopt urgent measures such as strengthening the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists; making crimes against journalists federal offenses; and implementing permanent, specialized protection measures to guarantee the life and physical integrity of journalists who are at risk.


In addition to Miranda Madrid, seven other journalists have been killed in Mexico since January 2009.   


The Office of the Special Rapporteur reminds that Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR states that "the murder, kidnapping, intimidation of and/or threats against social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media, violates the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restricts 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."