The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the murder of print and TV journalist José Agustín Silvestre on 2 August in the Dominican Republic’s southeastern province of La Romana.
“I condemn the murder of José Agustín Silvestre,” the Director-General said. “It is essential that a full investigation be carried out into this case for journalists to be able to continue exercising their basic human right of freedom of expression.”
The dead body of the 59-year old Silvestre was found a few hours after he had been kidnapped by four men in La Romana. He was known for making controversial claims about drug trafficking in Romana in his programmes and magazine, according to the Inter American Press Association (IAPA). Silvestre hosted a daily programme, La Voz de la Verdad (The Voice of Truth), on Caña TV, and published a fortnightly magazine by the same name.
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…”