Freedom of Expression

Press Release R103/11







Washington D.C., September 20, 2011. The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of journalist José Oquendo Reyes, which occurred on September 14 in Pueblo Nuevo, province of Chincha, and expresses its profound concern about this crime, which constitutes the third murder committed against a journalist in Peru during 2011. The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the authorities to exhaustively investigate the hypothesis according to which the murder could have been motivated by the exercise of journalism and urges the authorities to identify and punish the responsible parties and provide just reparations to the victim's family members.


According to the information received by the Office of the Special Rapporteur, on the afternoon of September 14, Oquendo Reyes was walking near his home when he was intercepted by unknown persons riding a motorcycle, who shot him at close range. The son of the victim took him to the hospital, where he died. The journalist was the director and host of the program "Sin Fronteras" on BTV Canal 45 in Chincha and, according to the information received; he had recently reported administrative mismanagement in the provincial town hall of Chincha. Along with his journalistic activities, Oquendo Reyes also worked on the supervision of construction projects. The murder of Oquendo Reyes follows the murders of the journalists Julio Castillo Narváez, in Virú, La Libertad, on May 3, and the murder of Pedro Flores Silva, in Casma, Áncash, on September 8.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential that the State exhaust lines of investigation that consider the possible nexus of this crime with the journalist's professional activity, given the various reports that the journalist had broadcast on his program. Furthermore, it is indispensable to promptly identify, capture, and prosecute the direct perpetrators and masterminds of the murder and to avoid the repetition of such attacks. Attacks against journalists do not only affect the victims and their family members, but also harm society as a whole; as such attacks impede both the right of journalists to circulate ideas or information and the right of all people to receive said information.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur recalls that Principle 9 of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states: "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: