The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the murder of Brazilian radio journalist Valderlei Canuto Leandro, known for his denunciation of corruption, on 1 September.
“I condemn the murder of Valderlei Canuto Leandro,” the Director-General said. “This crime must be investigated and its perpetrators must be brought to justice. Impunity in such cases should not be tolerated as it weakens democracy and rule of law.”
Valderlei Canuto Leandro, 32, host of the Sinal Verde (Green Signal) programme on Radio Frontera, was shot dead by unidentified assailants in the city of Tabatinga, in the state of Amazonas, according to local press reports.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Canuto Leandro notified the prosecutor’s office in May of death threats he received in connection with his investigations into cases of suspected corruption.
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…”