The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, called on the Indian authorities to investigate thoroughly the death of reporter Akshay Singh in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh state on 4 July.
“I express my condolences to Akshay Singh’s family, friends and colleagues and urge the authorities to investigate his death,” the Director-General said. “It is essential for rule of law and for society’s right to be kept informed, that the authorities do all they can to clarify the cause of Mr Singh's death. Reporters must be able to carry out their professional duties in a safe environment and crimes against them must not go unpunished”, Ms Bokova concluded.
Akshay Singh, a local TV journalist for the private Hindi news channel Aaj Tak, was investigating corruption in the north central state of Madhya Pradesh when he died from what doctors in a local hospital said was a heart attack. Media reports have raised doubts about the cause of Mr Singh's death.
The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12
UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”