The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of journalist Héctor Jonathan Rodríguez in the city of Autlán in the west of Mexico.
“I condemn the murder of Héctor Jonathan Rodríguez,” said the Director-General. “The media provide a vital contribution to the rule of law. It is essential for society as a whole that journalists be allowed to carry out their professional duties without fearing for their lives. I trust that the authorities will take all necessary steps to improve the safety of journalists, in keeping with recent pledges to this effect.”
Héctor Jonathan Rodríguez Córdova, a reporter for El Costeño, was killed on 15 May when unknown gunmen opened fire on the car in which he was travelling with his mother, Sonia Córdova Oceguera, a senior executive of the family-owned local weekly publication. Ms Córdova Oceguera was seriously injured in the attack.
In the wake of the killing, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto declared that his administration was determined to arrest and punish those responsible for these crimes.
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…”