Freedom of Expression

Press Release R76/15

Office of the Special Rapporteur Condemns Killing of Two Journalists in Mexico


July 6, 2015


Washington, D.C. – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the killing in Mexico of journalists Filadelfo Sánchez, in the state of Oaxaca, and Juan Mendoza Delgado, in the state of Veracruz. The Office expresses its concern and urges the Mexican authorities to act promptly and timely to establish the motive of the crimes, and identify and punish the perpetrators.


Violence against journalists in Mexico has been of particular concern to this Office. In 2014, eight persons were killed in this North American country, allegedly for exercising their right for freedom of expression.


According to the information received, Filadelfo Sánchez, who was a broadcaster at La Favorita radio station in Miahuatlán, was shot the morning of Thursday, July 2, when he was leaving from work. Reports say he had been threatened to death in the past. The governor of Oaxaca instructed the State attorney to command a diligent investigation to clarify the crime.


Moreover, Mendoza Delgado was director at the news website "Escribiendo la verdad" and was found dead, reportedly hit by a vehicle, on Wednesday, July 1. He was identified by his relatives on the next day. The State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists [Comisión Estatal para la Atención y Protección de los Periodistas] condemned the murder of the journalist, who also worked as a taxi driver, and demanded the clarification of the case.


According to the information given by the Mexican State, the Office of the Attorney General of Veracruz [Fiscalía General de Veracruz] is investigating the case and the Office of the Special Prosecutor on Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression [Fiscalía Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra la Libertad de Expresión] is helping the prosecutors of both states and requesting information about the cases, although it has not taken on the cases for the time being.


The states of Veracruz and Oaxaca, both in south Mexico, are two of the most dangerous in the country for journalists. This year, journalists José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo and Armando Saldaña Morales where killed in these states, and journalists from the area have reported threats on numerous occasions.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the authorities to thoroughly investigate the hypothesis that these crimes were linked to the exercise of journalism, and to put in practice all the legal instruments available to identify, prosecute and punish the perpetrators and masterminds responsible for these murders. The Office also considers it fundamental to adopt fair measures of reparation for the families of the journalists killed.


Moreover, the Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential to urgently assess whether the mechanisms of change in jurisdiction should be activated so that these cases could be investigated and prosecuted immediately by federal authorities. This Office also considers it fundamental to consolidate the Mechanism to Protect Human Rights Defenders and Journalists [Mecanismo de Protección para Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas], and to strengthen the interagency coordination mechanisms between federal authorities and the various levels of government to ensure the proper adoption and implementation of protection measures.


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 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.



R 76/15