Freedom of Expression

Press Release R69/13







Washington D.C., September 20, 2013. – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of the lawyer and radio host Édison Alberto Molina, which took place on September 11, in the municipality of Puerto Berrío, department of Antioquia, Colombia. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern and urges the Colombian authorities to act promptly and timely to establish the motive of the crime and to activate all the legal instruments available to identify and punish the perpetrators behind this crime.


40 year-old Molina was a lawyer and politician who hosted a radio show called ‘Consultorio Jurídico’ at the community radio station Puerto Berrío Stereo. According to the information received, on Wednesday September 11, after finishing his radio broadcast, Molina was going home with his wife on a motorcycle when he was approached by unknown individuals who shot him four times in the face. Molina died on his way to the hospital. His wife suffered minor injuries.


Molina answered inquiries from listeners on legal issues on his radio show, which he hosted every Wednesday. He also frequently denounced corruption within the local government. According to what was reported, in several occasions he had been threatened, allegedly in connection with his reporting. Molina had participated in local politics as councilman and Transit and Sports Secretary of the municipality of Puerto Berrío.


Colombian authorities condemned the crime and the Office of the Public Prosecutor started an investigation. They also offered a reward of 20 million Colombian pesos (some US $10.400) to whoever submits information that contributes to the apprehension of those responsible.


Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR 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.