Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 83/14



R 83/14




Washington D.C., August 6, 2014 – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the attack against the director of a community radio station, Indalecio Benítez, which resulted in the death of his 12-year-old son on August 1 in the town of Luvianos, state of Mexico, Mexico. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern and urges the Mexican authorities to take urgent action to establish the motive of the attack and to activate all the legal instruments available to identify and punish the perpetrators behind this crime, and take the necessary measures to protect the journalist and his family.


According to the information received, Benítez, founder of community radio station Calentana Mexiquense 98.1 FM, was returning home with his family, which is also used as the radio station headquarters, when he saw a group of armed men waiting outside. The journalist tried to flee the place, but the unidentified men opened fire on the vehicle, wounding his 12-year-old son. Benítez sought refuge and help at the base of the Navy that serves the area, but his son died minutes later. According to Benítez, upon leaving his home, the group of men shot at the building and entered the place, threating other family members who were inside, and then fled the scene.


The State reported that the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the State of Mexico opened an investigation into the events and ordered measures to protect the journalist’s home.


Violence against journalists in Mexico has been of particular concern to this Office. The Special Rapporteur urges the authorities to thoroughly investigate the hypothesis that the attack that resulted in the death of the child could have been associated with the journalist’s work.


Principle 9 of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states: "[t]he 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.