The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today expressed sorrow at news of the death of Mikhail Beketov, attributed to injuries sustained in an attack against him in Moscow in 2008. Ms Bokova called on the authorities to pursue their search for the perpetrators of this crime.
“I am saddened by the death of Mikhail Beketov, a defender for freedom of expression and press freedom. His death brings to an end his brave battle with the infirmities he suffered since he was attacked five years ago. I trust that the authorities will pursue all necessary efforts to bring those responsible for his attack to trial.”
Mikhail Beketov, 55, who had never fully recovered from the brutal beating he endured in 2008, died in a Moscow hospital on 8 April. A former editor in chief of Khimkinskaya Pravda newspaper of Khimki, a city near Moscow, Beketov had campaigned for the preservation of the forest around his town.
After several previous attacks, Mikhail Beketov was beaten and left for dead in November 2008. He survived but spent months in a command never regained the ability to speak.
Mikhail Beketov is remembered on the dedicated UNESCO page, 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…”