Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 3/16

Office of the Special Rapporteur Condemns Killing of Journalist in Venezuela

January 25, 2016

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 of journalist Ricardo Durán, which took place on January 19 in Caracas. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern and urges the Venezuelan authorities to act promptly and timely to establish the motive of the crime and to identify and sanction those responsible.
According to the information available, Durán was killed allegedly by three men on January 19 at night, when he was coming out of a building in the Caricuao area. Those responsible for the crime fled without taking his car or any of his belongings. Durán was the Press Chief of the Capital District government and previously was journalist in public TV network VTV.

The Office of the Attorney General informed that prosecutor Miguel Hernández was appointed to investigate this crime. The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, expressed his "repudiation of the killing" and said he had given orders to catch those responsible.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential for the State to clarify the motive of this crime; identify, prosecute, and punish those responsible; and adopt fair measures of reparation for the victim’s family.

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.

R 3/16