Freedom of Expression

Press Release R53/13







Washington D.C., July 22, 2013. – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of journalist Alberto López Bello, with the newspaper El Imparcial, which took place on July 17 in Oaxaca de Juárez, state of Oaxaca, Mexico. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern and urges the Mexican authorities to take urgent action to establish the motive of the crime and to activate all the legal instruments available to identify and punish the perpetrators behind this crime.


López Bello was a journalist with the newspaper El Imparcial, and covered police beats. He also collaborated with local radio station Radiorama. According to the information received, on July 17, at approximately 7 AM, the journalist’s body was found, alongside the body of another victim. Police authorities informed that the victims had been beaten, and their bodies presented signs of blunt trauma.


According to a press released issued by the Government of the state of Oaxaca, the Governor of Oaxaca has instructed the State General Public Prosecutor to "rule [the crime against the journalist] as a high impact case and to send it to the Special Bureau of Attention to Journalists [Mesa Especial para la Atención a Periodistas], in order to clarify the murder, in cooperation with the Office of the General Public Prosecutor, if applicable".


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.