Director-General denounces killing of Paraguayan journalist Pablo Medina Velázquez and his assistant Antonia Maribel Almada Chamorro

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today voiced deep concern over the killing of journalist Pablo Medina Velázquez and his assistant, Antonia Maribel Almada Chamorro, both of whom died on 16 October outside the city of Curuguaty, Paraguay.

“I condemn the killing of Pablo Medina Velázquez and Antonia Maribel Almada Chamorro,” the Director-General said. “It is essential that the people who commissioned and executed these crimes be brought to justice to deter future acts that cost journalists their lives and impinge on our right to be kept informed,” Ms Bokova said.

Pablo Medina Velázquez, a journalist for ABC Color, was shot dead in his car, along with his 19-year-old assistant, Antonia Maribel Almada Chamorro, on a country road as they were heading back to their home city of Curuguaty.

Pablo Medina Velázquez was reporting on the marijuana trade and received numerous threats in connection with his investigations. Police had provided him with a bodyguard following the threats, but he was not protected at the time of his death.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media professionals 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…”