Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 154/14



R 154/14




Washington, D.C., December 17, 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 Reynaldo Paz Mayes, owner of Canal 28, which took place on December 15 in the city of Comayagua, department of Comayagua, 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, Paz Mayes was exercising in the morning at a sports center of the city when he was attacked by unknown persons who shot him at least twice. Paz Mayes also ran critical opinion and analysis programs on the situation of the country.


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. 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.


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. During the recent onsite visit to Honduras, the Commission considered that the authorities should ensure that the bill for the protection of journalists, human rights defenders, and justice operators is urgently approved. The Commission also urged the State to continue a dialogue with all sectors involved, to be able to take into account their concerns and the international standards that apply to protection mechanisms. As well as to properly define who is a journalist, communications professional, and media worker, so that protection measures address their work-related needs and ensure their right to freedom of expression.


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.