Freedom of Expression

Press Release R136/12






Washington D.C., November 20, 2012. - The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of journalist Adrián Silva Moreno, which took place on November 14 in Tehuacán, Puebla, and urges federal and local Mexican authorities to take urgent action and activate all legal instruments available for identifying and punishing both the perpetrators of and the masterminds behind this crime.


According to the information received, Adrián Silva Moreno and his companion, identified as Misrael López González, were murdered on November 14. The crime could be connected to information the reporter had on gasoline theft in the region. Adrián Silva Moreno contributed to a number of local media outlets, including: Diario Puntual, Radio 11.70 of Tehuacán and Global México.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its deep concern over the repetition of extremely serious attacks on the media in Mexico. This year, at least eight journalists and media employees have been murdered. On April 28, journalist Regina Martinez with the magazine Proceso was found dead in her house in Veracruz, with the evidence indicating violence. On May 3, the lifeless bodies of photographers Gabriel Huge, Guillermo Luna and Esteban Rodríguez, and of Irasema Becerra,  an administrative employee with newspaper El Dictámen, were found, also in Veracruz. On May 18, the lifeless body of reporter Marcos Ávila García was found in Sonora, one day after he was kidnapped. Likewise, in the early morning hours of June 14, in Veracruz, Víctor Manuel Báez Chino was found dead. He was the editor responsible for the police report section of Diario Milenio - El Portal in Veracruz, as well as editor of news site Reporteros Policíacos.


As the Office of the Special Rapporteur expressed in its Special Report on Freedom of Expression in Mexico, attacks on the media in that country have forced numerous media outlets to stop publishing news on corruption and organized crime as a security measure, thereby depriving Mexican society of basic information. The Mexican State must immediately do everything in its power to prevent new attacks in response to the exercise of freedom of expression, combat impunity and prevent the silencing of the media. It is urgently necessary for the State to implement a policy to protect communicators, thereby breaking the cycle of impunity that encourages criminals to commit new crimes against journalists. Protecting the media is essential for comprehensively combating crime and protecting democracy. To do this, the following must be priorities for the State: the effective an urgent application of the Law to Protect Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, recently passed; the strengthening of the Office for the Specialized Public Prosecutor for Addressing Crimes committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE in its Spanish acronym); and the expediting and full implementation of new legislation allowing a constitutional reform that gives federal authorities the power to investigate and try crimes against the exercise of freedom of expression.


Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states: "The 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.