Freedom of Expression

Press Release R29/11






Washington D.C., March 19, 2012 − The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of Colombian broadcast journalist Argemiro Cárdenas Agudelo, which took place on March 15 in Dosquebradas, department of Risaralda, and urges the competent authorities to carry out a diligent, timely, and thorough investigation and not to rule out the possibility that this crime is related to the victim’s work in the media. 

According to the information received, when the communicator was at the radio station where he worked, he received a phone call requesting that he meet with someone.  As he was on his way to the meeting, an unknown person approached him and shot him several times in plain view.  Argemiro Cárdenas had been the mayor of Dosquebradas, and he was the founder and manager of the community radio station La Metro Radio 92.1 FM.  He was the director of the Cafetera Radial Radio Network (Red Radial Cafetera) and representative of the western region of Colombia before the Consultative Committee of Radio of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (MINTIC). On March 1, he had been nominated for the position of National Representative of the World Association of Community Radios (AMARC).

The authorities have not determined the causes behind the killing and are investigating several hypotheses.  The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges them to clarify the motives of the crime, to identify and punish those responsible, and to ensure just compensation for the victims' next of kin.

Principle 9 of the 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." 

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression was created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to encourage the defense of the right to freedom of thought and expression in the hemisphere, given the fundamental role this right plays in consolidating and developing the democratic system.