UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today condemned the killing of Dagestanian journalist and human rights activist Hadzhimurad Kamalov. Kamalov was shot on 15 December, a day dedicated to the commemoration of journalists killed in the line of duty in the Russian Federation.
“I condemn the murder of Hadzhimurad Kamalov,” the Director-General said. “This murder on a day commemorating assassinated reporters deals a severe blow to the aspiration to press freedom, and to the right of journalists to carry out their duties. I urge the authorities to investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to trial. Fear must not be allowed to muzzle media professionals, deny reporters the basic human right of freedom of expression, and bar citizens from accessing information.”
Hadzhimurad Kamalov was shot dead as he was leaving the offices of Chernovik, the independent local newspaper he founded. Kamalov was also the executive director of the Svoboda Slova (freedom of expression) organization.
According to Russian sources quoted by the International Press Institute (IPI), Kamalov is the fourth journalist killed in the Russian Federation this year alone. IPI reports that a total of 40 journalists have been killed in Russia since 2000
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…”