Freedom of Expression

Press Release R48/11





Washington, D.C., May 24, 2011—The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the crime against journalist Yensi Ordóñez, who was found murdered in the municipality of Nueva Concepción, department of Escuintla, Guatemala on May 19. The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the State to conduct a prompt, diligent and thorough investigation and requests that the authorities not rule out the possibility that the crime was connected to the victim’s professional activities.

According to the information available, the body of Yensi Ordóñez was found in his car with stab wounds to the chest and throat. The media worker had allegedly received threats for some of the news stories he had done, and he had also been the victim of extortion. 

The 24-year-old journalist worked for the Channel 14 newscast, and also hosted music and variety shows for the channel. In addition, Ordóñez taught at an elementary school in the town of El Reparo, in Nueva Concepción.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the Guatemalan authorities to move forward with the investigations in order to ensure that the motive is established, that the murderers stand trial and are adequately punished, and that reparations are made to the victim’s family. It is fundamental that the necessary measures are taken to avoid the repetition of such acts of violence and counteract their strong impact on society’s exercise of the right to freedom of expression. 

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."

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