Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 12/15



R 12/15




Washington, D.C., February 12, 2015. - The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) celebrates the World Radio Day this February 13 and would like to highlight the main role this media plays in the whole American hemisphere as a vehicle for freedom of expression and information, and as a source of information for the peoples and the communities.


During its existence, the Office of the Special Rapporteur has promoted all media, and especially radio, as a guarantee for the democratic process. The report "Freedom of Expression Standards for Free and Inclusive Broadcasting" addresses every person’s right to have equal opportunities to get, search and spread information and ideas of every kind by any communication means, without discrimination.


Following doctrine and case-law of the Inter-American Human Rights System, the Office of the Rapporteur reaffirms that media should be free, independent, strong, pluralistic and diverse to achieve an appropriate functioning of the democratic system. Radio's commercial sector has played an outstanding role in the region, being the broadcasting pioneer, as vehicle for freedom of speech and spreading of our people's cultures.


Public radios are also called to play an essential role in broadcasting other formats, spreading and promoting human rights, and giving voice to historically excluded sectors.


Furthermore, the Office of the Special Rapporteur has highlighted in several opportunities the key role of Community Media to ensure the actual practice of freedom of expression and a better access to information for the social sector and indigenous peoples in our region. Even though many countries in the hemisphere have legally recognized the community sector, there are still obstacles to implement its inclusion in media. Its development will also contribute with diversity and pluralism, and therefore avoid the creation of monopolies or oligopolies.


This is the fourth year of the World Radio Day, created by Unesco to increase awareness of the importance of this media to provide access to information, and to encourage cooperation between stations. According to this organization, radio broadcasting has -due to its characteristics, including its low cost- wide range in remote areas and communities, and can easily reach the most vulnerable: those with low levels of literacy, persons with disabilities, poor people, women and youth. The 2015 World Radio Day is dedicated specially to this last group.


The Office of the Rapporteur would like to take this opportunity to promote the inclusion of youth, women and sexual diversity in radio, either in broadcasted content or in access to management, production and programming positions.


The Office of the Rapporteur also encourages giving voice to young people on public issues that concern them, as well as the voluntary support of journalists and media to ethic codes that result in work that is respectful of their rights and the rights of other historically excluded groups.