The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has denounced today the killing of newspaper columnist Joaquin Briones in the Masbate province of the Philippines on 13 March.
“I condemn the killing of Joaquin Briones,” said the Director-General. “Attacks on the media fuel fear of covering issues which matter to society, leading to self-censorship and an uninformed public. I call on the local authorities to ensure that the Rule of Law is applied and the perpetrators of this crime are brought to court".
Joaquin Briones was a contributor to the daily tabloid newspaper Remate. He previously hosted the radio program Dos por Dos were he reported on local issues. He was fatally shot by unknown assailants on motorcycle in the town of Milagros on Monday morning.
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.
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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…”