Freedom of Expression

Press Release R41-10






Washington, D.C., April 12, 2010 - The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its concern for the disappearance of journalist Ramón Ángeles Zalpa, correspondent for the daily Cambio de Michoacán in the city of Paracho, State of Michoacán, México. The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the State to make all relevant efforts in order to find journalist Ángeles Zalpa alive, and calls on Mexican authorities to investigate the disappearence and implement suitable measures to protect reporters at risk.


According to the information received, Ramón Ángeles Zalpa was last seen on April 6, while he was driving his automobile towards the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, in the city of Paracho, where he teaches. According to sources, before his disappearance Ángeles Zalpa used to cover news related to organized crime. Recently, he had reported on an armed attack allegedly committed by a local crime gang against an indigenous family near the municipalities of San Juan Nuevo and Angahuan. According to the information received, Ángeles Zalpa received strange phone calls shortly before his disappearance.


The Special Rapporteur urges Mexican authorities to quickly investigate the disappearing of Ángeles Zalpa, and calls for the urgent adoption of measures to protect the reporter. Furthermore, it urges the State to advance measures such as strengthening the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists, making crimes against journalists federal crimes, and implementing specialized and permanent protection measures.


The kidnapping and murder of journalists are the most serious threats to freedom of expression in México. At least ten journalists were murdered in that country in 2009 and, in the first few months of 2010, four journalists were murdered and –at least- five were kidnapped.  


The Office of the Special Rapporteur recalls 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."


For More Information on the Office of the Special Rapporteur: