Freedom of Expression

Press Release R54-09


PREN R54/09




Washington, D.C, July 30, 2009 - The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, condemns the death of Juan Daniel Martínez Gil, reporter at W Radio and Radiorama Acapulco, whose body was found on July 28, 2009 in Guerrero, México. The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges Mexican authorities to fully investigate the crime and to determine whether the murder was related to the journalistic activity of the reporter. The Office of the Special Rapporteur also calls to effectively and duly prosecute those responsible. It also urges Mexican authorities to to adopt all the necessary measures to protect journalists in all the country.


According to the information released by the local press and non governmental organizations, on July 28, 2008, Martínez Gil’s body was found by member of the Police, who had been tipped by an anonymous call. The reporter was found buried in a vacant lot in a town called La Máquina in the state of Guerrero. He had his hands and feet tied, his head was wrapped in a brown tape and had signs of being brutally beaten. Martínez Gil was an anchor of the news show at W Radio and of the show "Guerrero en vivo" at Radiorama Acapulco. Another journalist from the same radio, Amado Ramírez, was murder in 2007.


During this year, at least nine reporters have been killed in the region for reasons that may have been related to their journalistic activity. Three of these reporters were killed in Mexico. During 2006, 9 murders and one disappearance were reported in Mexico. In 2007, three homicides, and three disappearances were reported, and in 2008, five murders, and one disappearance.


The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero Marino, urges Mexican authorities to fully investigate the murder of Martínez Gil, and that those responsible are duly prosecuted and punished. She also calls the State to work on the investigations on crimes and threats against journalists, and to take, as soon as possible, all urgent measures needed to protect journalists, such as the strengthening of the Special Attorney Office for the Attention of Crimes Against Journalists, the federalization of the crimes against reporters, and the implementation of permanent and specialized mechanisms to guaranty the life and the integrity of those journalists who are at risk. The Special Rapporteur underlines that Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR states that 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.