Freedom of Expression

Press Release R126/11









Washington D.C., December 8, 2011− The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) deeply regrets the death of the journalist Luz Marina Paz, which took place on December 6, and the shooting against the newspaper La Tribuna, on the morning of December 5, and urges the Honduran State to investigate both crimes in an exhaustive, timely and diligent way.


According to the information received, two men on a motorcycle shot to death journalist Luz Marina Paz and a driver, in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, when they were heading to the radio station where she worked. The journalist was a host on the show "Tres en la Noticia," at Cadena Hondureña de Noticias (CHN). Previously she had worked at Radio Globo for 8 years.  Paz had a reputation of practicing investigative journalism and being a critic of the coup d´état that happened on June 28, 2009. The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression had learned that authorities are analyzing different hypotheses about the causes underlying the killing of Luz Marina Paz. However, this office calls on the authorities not to rule out the possibility that the crime was connected to the journalist´s professional activities.


In the case of the shooting against La Tribuna, according to the available information, early on the morning of December 5, several men on a car shot at the building´s main entrance, injured a security employee and caused damages to the newspaper facade.  According to the information received, in recent days the newspaper had received several threats after publishing articles about the operation of criminal groups and issues of corruption.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential for the Honduran State to clarify the motive for these crimes; identify, prosecute, and punish those responsible; and adopt fair measures of reparation for the victim's next of kin. 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 safety of those who are being threatened because of their work in journalism. In light of the series of murders committed against journalists in Honduras, 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 reminds the State that Principle 9 of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression 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."