WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns murder of journalist Pedro Palma, owner of the local weekly newspaper Panorama Regional, in Miguel Pereira, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern 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, on the night of February 13, Palma was murdered in front of his house by two unknown individuals, who shot him at least three times from a motorcycle. The journalist was the owner of the weekly newspaper Panorama Regional, which was circulated in several municipalities of the region. The weekly frequently exposed alleged irregularities in local administrations. Persons close to Palma indicated that the journalist had received threats before his death.
The Office of the Special Rapporteur considers it essential for the State to clarify the motive for this crime; identify, prosecute, and punish those responsible; and adopt fair measures of reparation for the victim's family. The Office of the Special Rapporteur insists that the State needs to create special investigative bodies and protocols, as well as protection mechanisms designed to ensure the safety of those who are being threatened because of their work in journalism.
Principle 9 of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states: "[t]he 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.