Freedom of Expression

Press Release R14918

The Office of the Special Rapporteur condemns the murder of another journalist in Mexico and urges to investigate the relationship to his journalistic activity

July 11th, 2018

Washinton D.C. - The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of journalist Josť Guadalupe Chan Dzib, who died on June 29 in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and urges the Mexican State to investigate the case with due diligence and clarify its possible relation to the journalistic activity.

According to the information available, Josť Guadalupe Chan Dzib was in a bar when he was murdered by an unknown individual. The journalist, who was a crime reporter, had worked for various local media and currently was a reporter for the digital weekly Playa News. As reported, Chan Dzib received threats recently, and despite having communicated it to the authorities, he had not obtained protection measures.

On June 30 through its social networks, the government of the state of Quintana Roo deplored the murder of the journalist, sent its condolences to his relatives and reiterated its respect for freedom of expression. It also indicated that "for the clarification of the facts, the Executive requested the State Attorney Generalís Office a thorough investigation." According to information provided by the State, on June 29th FEADLE opened a case file at the time of the alleged murder of journalist Josť Guadalupe Chan Dzib, which follows a line of investigation related to his journalistic work and which still remains open.

For the Office of the Special Rapporteur, it is essential for the Mexican State to completely, effectively, and impartially investigate this crime that affects all of Mexican society. It must establish the motives for it, and legally determine whether there was any connection with his activity as a communicator. In this sense, it is fundamental for the authorities to investigate the facts without ruling out the theory that the murder may have been connected to journalistic activity and freedom of expression.

In addition, we recall that the obligation to investigate with due diligence and exhaust all logical lines of inquiry is especially relevant in cases of violence against journalists; an investigation that fails to consider aspects tied to the regional context, as well as the journalistís professional activity, will be less likely to yield results. The Office of the Special Rapporteur insists upon the need to create special investigative bodies and protocols.

The journalist was the seventh journalist killed in Mexico this year. This Office expresses its concern about the serious situation of violence against journalists in Mexico, and recommends that the Mexican government strengthen the protection mechanisms for journalists and ensure the effective implementation of its decisions and measures.

"Attacks on journalists have a serious impact on the right to freedom of expression and can also have serious consequences and a deeply problematic impact on democracy," said Edison Lanza, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR.

The Special Rapporteur noted in his recent visit to the country that Mexico faces a deep security crisis that severely affects human rights and, in particular, the safety of journalists. The endemic attacks against journalists and human rights defenders people, undoubtedly represent the threat more immediate and challenging freedom of expression in Mexico.

Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR 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 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.