Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 55/15



R 55/15




Washington, D.C., May 21, 2015 – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urges the Brazilian authorities to investigate the motives of the killing of journalist and blogger Evany José Metzker, found decapitated in Pioneira, state of Minas Gerais. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern due to the possible link of this crime to his work as a journalist and calls the State to act urgently to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators and masterminds responsible for this murder.


According to the information received, Metzker's body was found with signs of physical violence and hands tied in Pioneira, a rural area about 800 kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro, on May 18 after police received an anonymous call. Metzker, 67, had a blog called "Coruja do Vale" in which he reported crimes in the region. In addition, reports indicate that he was investigating a network of child sexual exploitation.


The Civil Police reported having two lines of investigation for this crime, one of which associates the fact with his journalistic work.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential for the State to analyze the hypothesis that states that the crime motive is linked with the exercise of freedom of expression, also to 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 create special investigative bodies and protocols, as well as guarantee the effective inclusion of those who are being threatened because of their work in journalism in protection mechanisms designed to ensure their safety.


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.