The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today deplored the murder in Dagestan of Yakhya Magomedov, editor of the Avar-language version of As-Salam magazine on 8 May.
“The news of Yakhya Magomedov’s killing is troubling,” the Director-General said. “The death of a journalist in violent and unexplained circumstances is always a setback for freedom of expression and freedom of the press. I deplore this killing and call on the authorities to investigate this murder and bring those responsible for it to justice.”
According to Reporters Without Borders, Yakhya Magomedov was shot four times as he left the home of his brother, a police officer, near the northern city of Khasavyurt.
Published in Russian and six Caucasian languages and distributed by volunteers, As-Salam magazine deals above all with religious beliefs and practices and has a print run of 90,000 copies. It is published by an organization called the Spiritual Leadership of the Muslims in Dagestan.
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…”