Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 125/10






Washington D.C., December 29, 2010 – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of radio journalist Henry Suazo committed on December 28 in the town of La Masica, Honduras.  The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern over the situation of journalists in Honduras and urges the State to promote investigations in this case as well as in others where journalists have been murdered and where perpetrators remain unpunished.

 According to information available to this Office, two unknown individuals fired shots at journalist Henry Suazo as he was leaving his home.  The journalist had been a reporter for the HRN radio station; additionally, he worked for a local TV station.  Suazo had apparently denounced on radio days before that he had received a death threat via a text message sent to his phone.    

In 2010, among other journalists and human rights advocates  that were also murdered , the following journalists were killed in Honduras: Israel Zelaya, on August 24 in San Pedro Sula; Joseph Hernández, on March 1 in Tegucigalpa; David Meza Montesinos, who died in La Ceiba on March 11; Nahúm Palacios, who was killed in Tocoa on March 14; Bayardo Mairena and Manuel Juárez, who were murdered in Juticalpa on March 26; Jorge Alberto (Georgino) Orellana, who died on April 20 in San Pedro Sula; and Luis Arturo Mondragón, who was murdered on June 14 in El Paraíso.  All of these crimes remain unpunished and Honduran authorities have not reported significant progress in any of the investigations into these murders.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur reminds the State that the ninth principle of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states 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."

 The Office of the Special Rapporteur insists upon the State about the need to create entities and special investigation protocols, as well as protection mechanisms to guarantee the safety of those who are under threats due to their journalistic activities.  As it has been emphasized by this Office before, it is deemed urgent that the Honduran State investigate in a thorough, effective and impartial way the crimes against journalists and identify, bring to trial and punish the perpetrators.