Freedom of Expression








Washington, D.C., August 10, 2010 – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression expresses its deep concern over threats received by Fausto Rosario Adames, the editor of the Dominican Republic weekly newspaper Clave, following the publication of articles on drug trafficking activities in that country, and regrets the closure of that publication.


According to information that has been received, Mr. Rosario was warned on August 4, 2010, that he was at risk of being murdered due to his investigations into a case of local corruption tied to drug trafficking. That same day, another Dominican journalist received a message that was similar in nature to the one threatening Rosario. The warnings made to the journalist coincided with serious acts of violence that, according to the information received, could be directly related to the threats.


On the afternoon of August 4, Rosario announced to his co-workers that the weekly Clave and its electronic version, Clave Digital, would be shut down. "This week both media outlets end their public life, until a new day of less gloom and economic crisis," the editor stated.


According to what this Office of the Special Rapporteur has been told, the President of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández, met in his office with Rosario and other co-workers to find out more about the situation and to order protection measures.


Inter-American doctrine and case law have repeatedly recognized that attacks and threats against journalists and the media outlets pose a danger to all of society and to democracy, by keeping citizens from being informed and limiting the free and vigorous debate of issues in the public interest.


It is important to recognize that the ninth principle of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression establishes the following: "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 expresses its solidarity with Fausto Rosario Adames, recognizes the positive effect of President Fernández’s attention to this case, and calls on the Dominican State to investigate, prosecute, and condemn those responsible for the threats, as well as to adopt effective security mechanisms that guarantee the life and physical integrity of Rosario and his colleagues who may be at risk.


For additional information about the Office of the Special Rapporteur: