Director-General condemns murder of journalists Akhilesh Pratap Singh and Rajdev Ranjan in India

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today called for an investigation into the killing of journalists, Akhilesh Pratap Singh and Rajdev Ranjan, who died in separate attacks in northeastern and central India respectively.

“I condemn the murders of Akhilesh Pratap Singh and Rajdev Ranjan,” the Director-General said. “I call on the authorities to investigate these killings to prevent impunity for crimes against freedom of expression and freedom of information from taking root.”

On 12 May, unknown assailants shot Akhilesh Pratap Singh, a correspondent for Hindi-language broadcaster Taaza TV, who was also known as Indradev Yadav, in the Chatra district of the state of Jharkhand in the northeast of India.

Senior reporter Rajdev Ranjan was shot on Friday 13 May in Siwan in the central Indian state of Bihar. He was the bureau chief of the Hindi-language national daily Hindustan.

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…”