The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today called for an investigation into the killing of Honduran TV journalist Noel Alexander Valladares, who died with two other people in an attack on 23 April. The journalist’s wife was also injured.
“I condemn the attack that killed Alexander Valladares, Adonis Valladares Escoto and Marcos Adrián Gutiérrez Andrade,” the Director-General said. “Using violence against journalists and those associated to them instils a climate of fear that undermines reporters’ and other media professionals’ ability to exercise their basic human right of freedom of expression and carry out their professional duties. I call on the authorities to investigate this act and bring its perpetrators to justice.”
Noel Alexander Valladares, 28, nicknamed El Tecolote (The Owl), hosted a daily entertainment program by the same name on local television channel Maya TV. According to reports quoted by the international Press Institute, IPI, he was in a car with three other passengers when four men wearing ski masks opened fire at the vehicle. The journalist’s uncle and body-guard, Renán Adonis Valladares Escoto and Marcos Adrián Gutiérrez Andrade, also died in the attack. The presenter’s wife, Yorleny Pavón, is reported to have been seriously injured.
Eighteen journalists and media workers, including Alexander Valladares, Adonis Valladares Escoto and Marcos Adrián Gutiérrez Andrade, have been killed in Honduras since 2009. They are listed on the dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.
In 2010, UNESCO supported training workshops in legal aspects of freedom of expression, access to information and election reporting for 140 journalists and media officers in the departments of Santa Rosa de Copán and Danli.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, +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…”