The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today expressed alarm at the killing of three media workers in Brazil—newspaper editor Pedro Palma, cameraman José Lacerda da Silva and radio journalist Edilson Dias Lopes—in separate incidents. Ms Bokova urged a thorough investigation of all three cases.
“I am shocked at the killing of Pedro Palma, José Lacerda da Silva and Edilson Dias Lopes,” the Director-General said. “The toll levied on media workers is tragic and unacceptable, and I call on the authorities to ensure that each of these cases is investigated thoroughly and brought to justice. Freedom of expression cannot thrive under the threat of guns,” Ms Bokova cautioned.
Pedro Palma, editor of the Panorama Regional weekly newspaper, was shot dead outside his home in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro on 13 February.
José Lacerda da Silva, a cameraman for regional TV Cabo Mossoró, was shot dead by two individuals in a car in the city of Mossoró on the evening of 16 February, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Edilson Dias Lopes, a journalist for community radio Explosão Jovem FM, was gunned down in the town of Pinheiros, in the north of the state of Espírito Santo, on 11 February, according to the Brazilian broadcasters’ association, Abert.
Since the start of 2013, the Director-General has condemned a total of 10 killings of media workers in Brazil. Her condemnations are posted on a dedicated web page.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12
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…”