Director-General concerned about the safety of journalists in the Philippines following murder of journalist Nestor Libaton
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today voiced concern about the safety of journalists in the Philippines and denounced the killing of radio news journalist Nestor Libaton in the city of Mati on the southern island of Mindanao in early May.
“I condemn the murder of Nestor Libaton and I am deeply concerned about the great number of journalists and media workers in the Philippines who are paying with their lives for their inalienable human right to free speech and their professional commitment to keeping society informed.”
Aged 45, Libaton had worked for the Catholic Church-run dxHM for 20 years. He was shot dead on his way back to work after conducting an interview.
Forty-seven journalists and media workers, including Nestor Libaton, have been killed in the Philippines since 2008. They are listed on the dedicated website, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.
In 2011, UNESCO supported the training of Phlippines journalists in the provinces of Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay. UNESCO also supported workshops in documentary film in Makassar and Poso.
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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…”