Director-General denounces assassination of DRC journalist Soleil Balanga

The Director-General of UNESCO today called for an investigation into the killing of journalist Soleil Balanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 16 April.

“I am shocked by the brutal murder of Soleil Balanga, which I strongly condemn,” the Director-General said. “I call on the authorities to bring those responsible for this killing to justice. Violence cannot be allowed to silence reporters and deprive the public of information it is entitled to receive.”

Balanga was killed in the town of Monkoto, in the northern province of Equateur. The journalist had been using a megaphone to broadcast news in the streets of his town in recent weeks, after the transmitter of his local radio station, Monkoto Soso Aleli, had broken down.

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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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…”