The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today voiced grave concern about the safety of citizen journalists in Bangladesh following the killing of blogger Ananta Bijoy Das on 12 May.
“I condemn the murder of Ananta Bijoy Das and call on the authorities to ensure that those responsible for this killing are brought to justice,” said the Director-General. “Punishing such attacks is indispensable to maintain free public debate and free expression by media professionals and committed citizens alike.”
Das, 33, was killed by four masked men on a street in the northeastern city of Sylhet in broad daylight. The blogger had contributed to the Mukto-Mona (Free Thought) website created by Avijit Roy, a US blogger of Bangladeshi origin, who was murdered during a visit to Dhaka on 26 February. Das also wrote for the quarterly Jukti (Logic).
The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.
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…”