The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today called on the authorities of the Maldives to investigate the killing of prominent blogger and social media activist, Yameen Rasheed on 23 April.
“I condemn the murder of Yameen Rasheed,” said the Director-General. “Journalists need to be able to work without fear and contribute to informed democratic debate. I call on the Maldivian authorities to ensure that the rule of law is respected and that those responsible for this killing are brought to justice.”
Rasheed maintained a blog, The Daily Panic, on political and social issues. He is reported to have received numerous death threats over the past year. Rasheed died from injuries sustained when he was attacked inside his apartment building in the capital, Malé.
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…”