Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 25/15



R 25/15




Washington D.C., March 6, 2015. – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the killing of journalist Édgar Quintero, which took place on March 2 in the town of Palmira, department of Valle del Cauca, 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 implement all the legal instruments available to identify the perpetrators behind this crime and determine if this attack was linked to the exercise of the journalistic profession.


According to the information available, on Monday 2 during the evening, Quintero was in a bakery in the city center when a man entered the trade and shot him at least six times. The incident occurred near the station Radio Luna, where he had been working for more than 20 years and was the director of the "Noticias y algo más" program.


Quintero, 57, had started as a radio journalist almost three decades ago, and through this media he often criticized the local government. Police officials said they do not know the reason of the killing because it is not known whether he had been threatened or not, but they assured they would seek the author or authors. They have offered 50 million Colombian pesos (20,000 US dollars, approximately) to whom may provide information on the perpetrators or masterminds.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential for the State to clarify the motive for this crime; identify, prosecute, and punish those responsible; and adopt fair measures of reparation for the victim's family. The Office of the Special Rapporteur insists that the State needs to strengthen the existent mechanisms of protection to ensure the safety of those who are being threatened because of their work in journalism.


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.