Freedom of Expression

Press Release R111/10




Washington, D.C., November 9, 2010. —The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asks the State of Mexico to carry out a diligent, rigorous, independent, and transparent investigation in order to clarify the circumstances in which journalist Carlos Guajardo Romero died on November 5 in the city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, during a major military operation against drug traffickers.

According to the information that has been received, Carlos Guajardo worked as a reporter on the police beat for the newspaper Expreso Matamoros. Around noon on Friday, November 5, the reporter was covering an armed confrontation between the Army and organized crime in downtown Matamoros, in which the head of the Gulf Cartel, Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén, died. The journalist, who had been gathering information at the scene of the confrontation, was found dead with bullet wounds. 

The Office of the Special Rapporteur recognizes the importance of the announcement made by the Army and by the National Human Rights Commission to the effect that an exhaustive investigation into the events was being launched. The Office of the Special Rapporteur trusts that independent Mexican authorities will investigate the facts that led to the death of the reporter, identify the circumstances of his death, and if appropriate, impose the appropriate punishment.

At least 10 journalists have died violently in Mexico in 2010, for reasons probably linked to their profession. In addition to these crimes, there have been numerous cases of kidnapping, threats, intimidation and attacks against the media and media workers. Given this situation, it is essential that the State clarify the cause of these events and adopt effective prevention and protection measures so that they do not happen again. The Office of the Special Rapporteur reminds the State that Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression establishes that: "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."