IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C.- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 3/2021 on January 8, 2021, to grant precautionary protection measures in favor of Mariano Valle Peters in Nicaragua, in the belief that he faces a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his right to freedom of expression.
According to the request for these precautionary measures, Mr. Valle Peters owns Nicavisión, S.A., a company that in turn owns Channel 12. Channel 12 is an opposition media outlet that faces closure for embargos based on tax debt allegations made by the country's tax authority. Closing Channel 12 would violate Mr. Valle Peters' right to freedom of expression, which he exercises through this TV channel. This request is linked to P-2199-20, which alleges violations of articles 8, 13, 24, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
When the Commission assessed the request for precautionary measures, it considered the exceptional context where these events are taking place. The allegations are particularly serious given the human rights crisis that Nicaragua is going through, which the IACHR has verified directly and continues to monitor through its Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI, by its Spanish acronym). The Commission warned that, according to the available reports, Mr. Valle Peters owns Channel 12 and is in charge of its overall editorial policy. Channel 12 is allegedly the only TV station available across the whole country that constantly presents reports with a critical perspective toward the Nicaraguan government.
The Commission further noted that Mr. Valle Peters has serious difficulties to exercise his right to freedom of expression, due to the role he plays both within the channel and in Nicaragua's current context. The IACHR considers that this situation risks triggering not only similar issues for the proposed beneficiary's colleagues—whether journalists or social communications specialists—but also for any individuals who attempt to report on matters of public relevance with a critical perspective toward the Nicaraguan government.
After assessing the legal and factual allegations made in the request for these precautionary measures, the Commission considered that—based on the standards that are applicable prima facie—it has been adequately established that Mr. Valle Peters faces a grave and urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm. Consequently, in keeping with Article 25 of the Commission's Rules of Procedure, the IACHR asks Nicaragua to ensure in its current context the measures required to enable the beneficiary to continue to exercise his right to freedom of expression, taking all action necessary and refraining from taking any measures that hinder the exercise of this right. Among the required measures, the IACHR asks the State to refrain from proceeding to auction off or sell the Channel 12 until the impact that this decision would have on the exercise of Mr. Valle Peters' right to freedom of expression has been assessed.
The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the State do not entail a prejudgment on a potential petition that may be filed before the Inter-American System to allege violations of rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights and other applicable instruments.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.