The Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova today deplored the killing of Aldion Layao, a journalist and local politician in Mindanao, in the Philippines earlier this month and called for an investigation into the killing.
“I condemn the killing of Aldion Layao,” the Director-General said. “I call on the authorities to spare no effort in pursuing those responsible for the killing of Aldion Layao so as to uphold the basic human right of freedom of expression and press freedom. It is essential in any democracy that people be able to take part in public debate, regardless of their political position.”
Aldion Layao, 34, was shot dead on his way home near Davao City on 8 April. Layao had worked for GMA Super Radyo and other broadcasters before becoming a village chief in 2010. Since then, he continued working as a “blocktimer,” a radio announcer who pays for time on air, on dxPr Radio, a local station in Davao.
Forty-six journalists and media workers, including Aldion Layao, have been killed in the Philippines since 2008. They are listed on the dedicated website, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.
In 2011, UNESCO supported the training of Phlippines journalists in the provinces of Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay. UNESCO also supported workshops in documentary film in Makassar and Poso.
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…”