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Home » News

UNESCO condemns killing of journalists in the Philippines and Syria

Article / Review by on January 10, 2012 – 8:04 pmNo Comments

UNESCO condemns killing of journalists in the Philippines and Syria

UNESCO Director-General Irina BokovaUNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova

The head of the United Nations agency in charge of defending press freedom condemned today the recent murders of journalists in the Philippines and Syria and called on authorities to investigate the crimes thoroughly.

“I call on the Philippine authorities to shed light on this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “It is crucial that such an act, which violates the fundamental right to freedom of expression, does not go unpunished.”

According to the non-governmental organization (NGO) Reporters Without Borders, Christopher Guarin, a presenter on Radio Mindanao Network and editor of Tatak News Nationwide, was returning home with his wife and children last Thursday when an unidentified motorcycle opened fire on his vehicle.

It is crucial that such an act, which violates the fundamental right to freedom of expression, does not go unpunished.

Mr. Guarin was wounded from the first impact, but when he tried to escape, his attackers shot him five times. His wife said he had received various death threats in the past.

“This crime joins the long list of journalists that have been killed in the country since last year,” said Ms. Bokova. “Journalists who cover news in the Philippines should be able to work safely in order to provide citizens with free information and nourish an informed debate.”

Ms. Bokova also condemned the murder of Syrian journalist Shoukri Ahmed Ratib Abu Bourghoul who was shot on 30 December and succumbed to his injuries three days later. He was targeted by a group of armed men on his way home in the town of Darya, near the capital, Damascus, after presenting his weekly radio show.

Ms. Bokova called his assassination an attack on press freedom and against the rights of journalists to carry out their mission, and urged Syrian authorities to conduct an investigation to shed light on the conditions that let to his death.

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About UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

UNESCO Logo

UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values. It is through this dialogue that the world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of UNESCO’S mission and activities.

The broad goals and concrete objectives of the international community – as set out in the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – underpin all UNESCO’s strategies and activities. Thus UNESCO’s unique competencies in education, the sciences, culture and communication and information contribute towards the realization of those goals.

UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. The Organization focuses, in particular, on two global priorities:

  • Africa
  • Gender equality

And on a number of overarching objectives:

  • Attaining quality education for all and lifelong learning
  • Mobilizing science knowledge and policy for sustainable development
  • Addressing emerging social and ethical challenges
  • Fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace
  • Building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication

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> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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