UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has urged Ugandan authorities to fully investigate the murder of journalist Thomas Pere, whose body was found on the outskirts of the capital Kampala, on 17 June.
“I deplore the murder of Thomas Pere,” said the Director-General. “Every effort must be made to shed light on his death and bring those responsible to justice. The murder of a journalist is a crime against the whole of society; an attempt to choke off democratic debate and muzzle the basic right of freedom of expression. A clear message must be sent to the perpetrators of such crimes that their acts will not go unpunished.”
Thomas Pere was a journalist at the New Vision newspaper, where he reported on social issues. According to Reporters Without Borders, he was also an active member of the Uganda Tourism Press Association. His colleagues reported seeing him last on the evening of 16 June, when he left the offices of the newspaper to return home. His body was found on vacant land a few kilometres outside Kampala the following morning.
Thomas Pere is the fourth journalist killed in Uganda since September 2010 and is remembered on the dedicated webpage UNESCO remembers assassinated 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…”