The Latin American and Caribbean Regional Alliance of IFEX (IFEX-ALC) categorically condemns the murder of journalist Javier Ortega, photographer Paúl Rivas and driver Efraín Segarra, at the hands of the Oliver Sinisterra Front FARC-EP - a dissident group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The three men were kidnapped on March 26 in the border area of Mataje, Esmeraldas, north of Ecuador.
The 24-member regional network for the defence of freedom of expression and the exercise of free, independent and secure journalism, has received confirmation of this regrettable news with sorrow and indignation and we extend our solidarity and support to Ecuadorian journalists and the relatives, friends and colleagues of the deceased.
This serious event highlights the fact that acts of violence against journalists and members of the media constitute a most extreme form of censorship. Standards established by the Inter-American System of Human Rights clearly determine that it is the responsibility of States to ensure the safety of journalists who document and denounce human rights violations in communities affected by acts of violence. It is also a requirement of States to guarantee conditions for the safe and free exercise of the work of journalists while freely safeguarding the right to freedom of expression.
We call on the Ecuadorian and Colombian authorities to facilitate a prompt and thorough investigation of this tragic event to determine the circumstances under which Javier Ortega, Paul Rivas and Efraín Segarra lost their lives. An independent investigation will establish culpability and ensure that those responsible for these deaths do not remain unpunished. We also demand that the authorities disseminate truthful and timely information on the case in keeping with the right to public information.
The IFEX-ALC Alliance includes the following organizations:
Association of Caribbean Media Workers
Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism
Centro de Archivos y Acceso a la Información Pública
Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala - CERIGUA
Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social
Comité por la Libre Expresión - C-Libre
Foro de Periodismo Argentino
Foundation for Press Freedom - FLIP
Fundamedios - Andean Foundation for Media Observation and Study
Instituto de Prensa y Libertad de Expresión - IPLEX
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela
Latin American Observatory of Regulation, Media and Convergence - OBSERVACOM
National Press Association
Observatorio Latinoamericano para la Libertad de Expresión - OLA
Sindicato de Periodistas del Paraguay
Trinidad and Tobago's Publishers and Broadcasters Association
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers