The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the murder of journalist Chandrika Rai, found dead with his wife and two children in their home in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on 18 February.
“I condemn the murder of investigative journalist Chandrika Rai and his family,” said Irina Bokova. “It is essential for the preservation of freedom of expression and press freedom that the authorities in Madhya Pradesh make all efforts to investigate this matter and that the perpetrators of this shocking crime be brought to justice.”
Freelance journalist Chandrika Rai, 43, regularly published articles in newspapers in the state capital of Bhopal. He had recently exposed illegalities in coal trade in the region, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
Chandrika Rai is the eighth journalist killed in India since 2008 to be listed on UNESCO’s dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.
In 2011, UNESCO and the International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) provided training in conflict and human rights reporting to 60 journalists in Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand states. In Hyderabad, UNESCO and the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union hosted a workshop for 15 senior radio and television professionals. It focused on conflict sensitive reporting and ways to engage in media advocacy to contribute to peace building.
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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…”