Freedom of Expression

Press Release R101/11









Washington D.C., September 13, 2011. The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of Peruvian journalist Pedro Flores Silva, killed in Casma, department of Áncash, on September 8. The Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential to carry out a diligent and exhaustive investigation that takes into account the threats recently received by the journalist and that allows for the intellectual and material authors of the crime to be captured, processed, and sanctioned, and for the victim’s family to receive adequate reparations.


According to the information received by the Office of the Special Rapporteur, on the night of September 6, a hooded person intercepted the journalist near his home in Casma and shot him two times. One of the bullets perforated vital organs and the victim suffered a generalized infection that resulted in his death on September 8, in the Regional Hospital of Chimbote. Pedro Flores, 36 years old, hosted the news program "Visión Agraria," on the local Channel 6.


The journalist’s wife commented that her husband had received various death threats since about two months beforehand. The journalist had been broadcasting a series of reports related to alleged irregularities committed in the municipality of the district of Comandante Noel. The journalist faced a criminal lawsuit brought by the mayor of this town.


For the Office of the Special Rapporteur, it is essential for the State to exhaustively investigate the possible nexus of the crime with the professional activity of the journalist. Crimes committed against journalists do not only affect the victims and those close to them; rather, they jeopardize the right to freedom of expression of society as a whole.


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."