Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, today called for those responsible for killing Cambodian journalist Suon Chan to be brought to justice.
“I am appalled by the brutal killing of Suon Cahn,” the Director-General said. “Society as a whole suffers when violence is used to silence journalists in the line of duty. The perpetrators of this crime should be brought to justice to strengthen freedom of expression and press freedom in Cambodia.”
A group of men wielding stones and bamboo sticks attacked Suon Chan, 44, near his home in Cholkiri, Kampong Chhnang province, on the evening of 31 January. Two people who came to help him were also injured. The three were taken to a local hospital but Chan, who was particularly badly injured, died during his transfer to a hospital in Phnom Penh.
The attack is widely reported to have been carried out in retaliation for his work for the Maekea Kampuchea newspaper on illegal fishing in the province.
The Director-General’s statements denouncing attacks on journalists can be found online.
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…”