Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 96/14



R 96/14




Washington, D.C., September 9, 2014 – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the attack against journalist Karla Janeth Silva Guerrero, correspondent for the newspaper El Heraldo de León, which took place in her office on September 4 in the town of Silao, state of Guanajuato, Mexico. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern and urges the Mexican authorities to take urgent action to establish the motive of the attack and to activate all the legal instruments available to punish the perpetrators behind this crime, and take the necessary measures to protect the journalist.


According to the information received, during the afternoon several persons reached the reporter’s office and brutally beat her as they made comments about her news stories. Earlier that day, several men had been looking for the reporter. The journalist, who was hospitalized, filed a complaint on the attack before the Office of the Public Prosecutor. The men also attacked the office assistant and caused damage to the furniture and equipment of the newspaper. According to available information, Guerrero Silva’s articles are often critical of the local government. As a result, she had received complaints.


The State reported that the Office of the Special Public Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) at the Office of the Attorney General opened an investigation on the events.


Violence against journalists in Mexico has been of particular concern to this Office. The Special Rapporteur urges the authorities to thoroughly investigate the hypothesis that the attack 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.