Washington D.C. - The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of the journalist Marlon de Carvalho Araújo and urges the Brazilian authorities to investigate the possible connection of the crime to the journalistic work of the victim.
According to the information available, the journalist Marlon de Carvalho Araújo was shot to death at his residence in the town of Chapada, a rural area of the city of Riachão of Jacuípe, Bahia, on the morning of August 16.
The victim worked as an independent journalist and disseminated videos and reported on issues related to the political sphere through social networks. In this sense, the journalist was known for denouncing corruption by politicians from various municipalities in his region. In addition, according to local media, in the last elections Marlon de Carvalho Araújo was a candidate for a seat in the legislative body of Riachão of Jacuípe. Likewise, according to information of public knowledge, in the last video he posted on Facebook he said that he would relate a scheme of corruption involving a councilor from the legislative body of Pé de Serra, a neighboring municipality.
"The type of coverage developed by the journalist suggests that the crime is related to his work. The State must follow the line of inquiry linked to his work", said Edison Lanza, the Special Rapporteur.
The Office of the Special Rapporteur reminds the Brazilian State of its obligation to investigate the possible relation between this crime and the journalistic work of the victim. An investigation that does not weigh aspects related to the context of the region and the professional activity of the journalist will have less possibilities of achieving results. The Office of the Special Rapporteur insists on the need to create special investigative protocols to ensure the proper investigation of killings of journalists by State authorities.
In addition, the Office of the Special Rapporteur notes that the Brazilian State reported that it had reinforced the budget for the "Protection Program for Human Rights Defenders,” extended to journalists and media workers, this being the largest assignment to the Mechanism since its creation. In this regard, this Office reminds the State that this mechanism should meet the needs of journalists and be widely disseminated among media workers, so that it can offer effective guarantees to those who are at risk because their journalistic activity.
Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR states that "the murder, kidnapping, intimidation, threat to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of the media, violates people’s fundamental rights and severely restricts the freedom of expression. It is the duty of the States to prevent and investigate these acts, to punish their perpetrators and to assure the victims of adequate reparation."
The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression is an office created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in order to stimulate the hemispheric defense of the right to freedom of thought and expression, considering its fundamental role in the consolidation and development of the democratic system.