Freedom of Expression

Press Release R123/12







Washington, D.C., October 16, 2012 − The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of Luiz Henrique Georges, owner of the newspaper Jornal da Praça, which took place on October 4 in Ponta Porã, Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern over the second murder of a person linked to this newspaper and requests that the authorities conduct a prompt and diligent investigation to establish the motive of the crime, identify and appropriately punish the perpetrators.


According to the information received, unknown individuals fired gunshots at the vehicle in which Georges and two of his employees were driving.  Georges and Nery Gordo Veras were apparently killed immediately, while the other passenger is in the hospital in critical condition.  The information available indicates that Georges recently assumed control of Jornal da Praça, which had published articles that were critical of candidates for the municipal elections celebrated in Ponta Porã on October 7.  On February 12, 2012, Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues, a journalist for Jornal da Praça, was also killed in Ponta Porã.


The ninth principle 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."


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.