Freedom of Expression









Mexico City, August 13, 2010—The rapporteurs for freedom of expression of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS), Frank La Rue and Catalina Botero, deeply deplore the car-bomb attack that took place in the early morning hours of August 12 outside the offices of Radio Caracol, in Bogotá, Colombia, and express their solidarity with those who were injured and with the staff of the radio station.


According to the information received, a vehicle loaded with explosives blew up in front of the national headquarters of Radio Caracol, one of the leading news networks in Colombia. The blast left at least eight persons injured, caused destruction at the entrance to the radio station, and damaged facades and shattered windows in neighboring buildings. The employees who were working at that hour were not injured, and the radio station continued to broadcast and report on what had occurred. The office of the Spanish news agency EFE is also located in the same building as the radio station. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos offered assurances that the authorities will investigate the source of the attack and track down those responsible. The Security Council met in a special session to evaluate the damage and decide on a course of action.


The UN and OAS rapporteurs for freedom of expression stress that to keep such brutal acts from being repeated, it is critical that the State act immediately to identify the cause of the attack and to capture, prosecute, and convict its perpetrators and masterminds, in a manner that is effective and proportional.


As established in Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, "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."


La Rue and Botero emphasized that the Colombian press has courageously resisted attacks by various violent sectors that seek to silence it. The Colombian State must offer the press all guarantees so that it can robustly exercise its right to freedom of expression.


The UN and OAS rapporteurs for freedom of expression are carrying out a joint visit to Mexico through August 25.


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