Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, today denounced the murder of radio presenter Luis Manuel Medina and producer Leónidas Martínez, also known as Leo Martínez, on 14 February in the town of San Pedro de Macorís, in the Dominican Republic, during a live broadcast of their news programme.
“I condemn the murder of Luis Manuel Medina and Leónidas Martínez,” said the Director-General. “Such brutality spreads terror not only throughout the media community of the country concerned but through society at large. I urge the authorities to do all they can to bring those responsible for this crime to trial and support the media whose contribution to informed public debate is indispensable to maintain respect for internationally recognized human rights, notably the basic right of freedom of expression.”
A gunman entered the premises of local radio station FM 103 on Tuesday morning and shot Luis Manuel Medina while he was presenting the Milenio Caliente (Hot Millennium) news programme. Leónidas Martínez, who was the director of FM103 and the programme’s producer was also killed.
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…”