Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 89/14



R 89/14




Washington, D.C., August 21, 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 Nery Francisco Soto Torres, which took place on August 14 in the municipality of Olanchito, department of Yoro, Honduras. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its deep concern and urges the Honduran authorities to act urgently to establish the motive of this crime and to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators and masterminds responsible for this murder.


According to the information received, during the night Soto Torres was about to enter his home when strangers, who allegedly were waiting for him, shot him several times. Soto Torres was the anchor and reporter of Canal 23. He was also the co-producer of a radio program at Radio Full FM. Authorities dismissed robbery as a motive for the murder. The State reported the Office of the Special Rapporteur that authorities opened the corresponding investigations.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential for the Honduran State to clarify as soon as possible the motive for this crime; 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 protection mechanisms designed to ensure the integrity of those who are being threatened because of their work in journalism. In light of the series of murders committed against journalists in Honduras since 2009, it is critical that the State carry out a complete, effective, and impartial investigation of these crimes, which have a negative impact on all of Honduran society.


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.