The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today denounced the shooting of a small plane in Mulia (Indonesia) on 8 April, in which a local newspaper journalist, Leiron Kogoya, died and four people were injured. Ms Bokova also called for an investigation into the incident.
“I condemn the killing of Leiron Kogoya,” the Director-General said. “I call on the authorities to conduct an investigation into this attack which silenced the voice of a journalist. It is essential for democracy and rule of law that journalists be able to cover events anywhere without fearing for their lives. Such attacks on civilians are an intolerable breach of the most fundamental rights, including the basic human right of freedom of expression and its corollary, press freedom.”
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Leiron Kogoya, 35, was a reporter for local newspapers Papua Pos Nabire and Pasifik Pos Dail. He died on his way to cover local elections in Mulia when gunmen shot a small plane in which he was travelling. The authorities said two pilots, a female passenger, and a 4-year-old boy were wounded in the attack.
Two media professionals including Leiron Koyoga, have been killed in Indonesia since 2010. They are listed on the dedicated website, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated 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…”