The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the murder of journalist Nestor Bedolido on 19 June and called for an investigation of this crime.
“I condemn the murder of Nestor Bedolido,” the Director-General declared. “This crime must be investigated and its perpetrators brought to justice. This is essential to put an end to the shocking number of attacks on professionals assassinated for exercising the basic human right of free speech and enabling the public to engage in informed debate.”
Nestor Bedolido was a reporter for the Kastigador newspaper published in Digos on the island of Mindanao. He died after having been shot six times by an unidentified assailant who was driven away from the scene of the crime on the back of a motorcycle.
This killing follows those of radio journalists Desidario Camangyan, in Mindanao, and Joselito Agustin, in Ilocos Norte on the 14 and 15 of June respectively. According to Reporters Without Borders, 52 journalists have been murdered in the Philippines since democracy was restored in the country in 1986.
**** UNESCO is the only 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…”