Paris--The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the murder of two Finnish journalists, Katri Ikävalko and Anne Vihavainen, as well as an elected official, Tiina Wilén-Jäppinen, killed on 4 December in the town of Imatra, in the southeast region of Finland.
“I condemn the murders of Katri Ikävalko, Anne Vihavainen and Tiina Wilén-Jäppinen,” said the UNESCO Director General. “Finland, which was the host of the 2016 celebration of World Press Freedom Day, is a true champion for these fundamental freedoms. I welcome the authorities’ prompt action in investigating this heinous crime.”
Katri Ikävalko, 36, worked for the local daily newspaper Uutisvuoksi and Anne Vihavainen, 52, worked for the regional daily newspaper Etelä-Saimaa in Imatra. They were killed by a lone gunman on Sunday morning who also killed the Chair of the City Council of Imatra, Ms Tiina Wilén-Jäppinen.
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…”