The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Indian newspaper journalist, Rajesh Mishra, who died on 2 March as a result of severe injuries he suffered from his attackers.
“I condemn the murder of Rajesh Mishra,” the Director-General said. “Killing of journalists constitutes a serious attack on the basic human right of freedom of expression and press freedom”.
“UNESCO lauds the quick arrest of the perpetrators and supports calls for an independent inquiry into the recent spike in violent attacks against journalists in the country,” Ms Bokova added. “This could be a valuable step to stop impunity and create a safer environment for journalism.”
Rajesh Mishra was a journalist for the local Hindi-language weekly, Media Raj. He was killed in the town of Rewa, Madhya Pradesh in central India.
Ten journalists and media workers, including Rajesh Mishra, have been killed in India since 2008. They are listed on the dedicated website, , UNESCO Condemns Killing of Journalists.
In the effort to strengthen the safety of journalists on the ground, UNESCO works with various organizations such as International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in 2011 to train journalists in India and also through advocacy campaigns.
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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…”