Freedom of Expression

Press Release R87/10







Washington D.C., August 27, 2010.- The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its most emphatic condemnation of the car bomb attack against the Televisa building in Ciudad Victoria, which took place in the early morning hours today in that town in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.  This Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern over the series of increasingly violent attacks with explosives aimed at Mexican communications media, and calls upon the Mexican authorities to immediately take the necessary measures to protect media outlets and journalists, as well as to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes.  


According to the information received, a vehicle exploded outside Televisa’s premises shortly after midnight. No one was injured, but there was property damage. Personnel from the TV station had left work minutes prior to the attack. The explosion was felt for several blocks, and also affected the nearby Canal 7 Multimedios TV station building. Electrical power was knocked out and the Televisa signal went off the air in Ciudad Victoria.    


This morning’s attack was the strongest one of several attacks this year aimed against Mexican media outlets, which have not resulted in any casualties but which have caused considerable property damage. Last August 14 and 15, Televisa’s offices in Matamoros and Monterrey were attacked with grenades. On July 30, a grenade was thrown at Televisa Channel 57 in Nuevo Laredo. On July 9, the lobby of Multimedios Radio in Monterrey was hit by a grenade that failed to go off, and on January 7, masked individuals attacked the Televisa building in Monterrey with firearms and threw a grenade.


Added to these attacks, this year alone, are the murders of at least nine journalists and numerous cases of kidnapping, threats and intimidation against the media and media workers.


In the opinion of this Office of the Special Rapporteur, today’s car bomb marks a very serious qualitative leap in a trend of attacks and harassment directed at journalists and the media. In the joint visit conducted with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion, which concluded this past August 24, the Rapporteurs confirmed that the violence against journalists in Mexico is alarming and showing signs of intensifying.


Just as we expressed in Mexico to the state authorities, this Office of the Special Rapporteur reiterates that, in accordance with international human rights standards, the State has the obligation to reasonably prevent acts of violence perpetrated by private individuals against journalists and the media. The State has the duty to investigate, prosecute, and if appropriate, punish the perpetrators of the attacks, as established in the ninth principle of the Declaration of Principles of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression stresses emphatically to the State the urgent need to adopt a comprehensive policy of prevention, protection and provision of justice for journalists and the media.