Freedom of Expression

Press Release R41/12







Washington, D.C., April 30, 2012 The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of journalist Regina Martinez, whose body was found with signs of violence on April 28th at her home in Veracruz, Mexico.  The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the authorities to conduct a prompt and diligent investigation to identify and punish those responsible for this crime.  According to the information received, the government of the state of Veracruz requested the collaboration of the Attorney General of the Republic in order to carry out the appropriate investigations.

According to the information received, Regina Martinez was a correspondent for the magazine Proceso in Veracruz, a publication with nationwide circulation devoted to analysis and investigation, and she wrote critical articles about state politics and organized crime.  Proceso has been the target of massive buy-outs of its issues by parties that consider themselves to be affected by its reports, and on several occasions, it has withheld the name of its journalists covering security issues at the regional level.  The murder of Regina Martinez adds to the 10 homicides of communicators that were committed in Mexico in 2011.  In addition to the correspondent for Proceso, over the last 12 months, the murders of Miguel Ángel López Velasco, Misael López Solana, Yolanda Ordaz and Noel López Olguín have taken place in Veracruz.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur reiterates its concern for the persistent acts of violence against social communicators in Mexico and urgently calls on the authorities to strengthen the Office of the Special Prosecutor on Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE, in its Spanish acronym) and to implement both the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists and the constitutional reform that would give federal authorities the power to investigate and prosecute crimes affecting freedom of expression.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur insists that in order to ensure that this crime does not result in impunity and that similar crimes are not committed, it is of utmost importance that all parties who are responsible for the murders are identified, tried and punished, and that the perpetrators provide just reparations to the victims'  families.


Principle 9 of the 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."

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.