Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 59/14

R 59/14
Washington D.C., May 19, 2014 – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of journalist Fausto Gabriel Alcaraz, an announcer of Radio Amambay 570 AM, which took place on May 16 in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero, department of Amambay, Paraguay. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern and urges the Paraguayan authorities to take urgent action to establish the motive of the crime and to active all the legal instruments available to identify and punish the perpetrators behind this crime. 

According to the information received, at about 1 pm on May 16, strangers on a motorcycle attacked Alcaraz when he returned home after completing his morning radio program ‘De frente a la mañana’. Official sources said that the victim received at least 10 bullet wounds. The information received indicates that his colleagues said that the crime could be related to allegations made by the journalist on his program about drug trafficking taking place on the border with Brazil. In his reports, Alcaraz named people allegedly linked to the illegal activity. 

The Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential for the State to clarify the motive for this crime, and urges the authorities to thoroughly investigate the hypothesis that the crime could have been associated with the journalist’s work.

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.