Press Release R58/11
OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR EXPRESSES CONCERN REGARDING
DISAPPEARANCE OF JOURNALIST IN MEXICO
Washington D.C., June 16, 2011. The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its concern regarding the disappearance of journalist Marco Antonio López Ortíz, information director of the newspaper Novedades Acapulco, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the State to employ all means necessary to investigate this occurrence and ensure that the journalist is found alive, while not dismissing the possibility that his disappearance may be linked to his professional practice of journalism.
According to the information received, on the night of June 7, 2011, López Ortíz was captured by a group of unknown persons in the city of Acapulco. His abandoned car was found at the place of his kidnapping, and since then no information about his whereabouts has been received. The information available indicates that the Guerrero State Prosecutor General’s Office has opened an investigation into the incident, and the National Human Rights Commission has also visited the installations of Novedades Acapulco in order to obtain information about the journalist’s disappearance.
In its "2010 Special Report on Freedom of Expression in Mexico," the Office of the Special Rapporteur verified the critical situation of violence confronting journalists in the state of Guerrero. According to the report, four of the 13 murders of journalists in Mexico during 2010 occurred in Guerrero, in addition to other grave acts such as the armed attack on the El Sur newspaper in Acapulco in November of last year.
The Office of the Special Rapporteur once again urges the Mexican State to promote measures that protect journalists, as well as mechanisms to confront the serious deficiencies in the administration of justice with regard to these crimes. In particular, the Office of the Special Rapporteur has urged the State to strengthen the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression, transfer investigations of crimes committed against media workers to the federal justice system when necessary, and implement security measures to safeguard the lives and wellbeing of threatened journalists. In addition, the Office of the Special Rapporteur insists that to combat impunity and the repetition of these acts, it is indispensable for all the perpetrators of such crimes to be identified, tried, and punished, and for the victims’ families to receive due reparations.
Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR 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."
For more information on the Office of the Special Rapporteur, please visit: http://www.cidh.oas.org/relatoria/index.asp?lID=1
2010 Special Report on Freedom of Expression in Mexico Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression