The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today called for an investigation into the killing of Amon Thembo Wa’Mupaghasya, an independent TV director in Kasese, Uganda, on 12 May.
“I condemn the murder of Amon Thembo Wa’Mupaghasya,” said the Director-General. “This crime is an intolerable attack on freedom of expression, a fundamental human right which forms the cornerstone of democracy. The liberty to investigate and report important issues sustains social debate. Journalists must be able to work without fear of reprisal.”
Thembo, who lived near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was gunned down by unidentified assailants who stole his bag and camera. Local authorities are reported to have launched an investigation into the case and are examining the possibility that the TV director was targeted for his work.
The Daily Monitor reports that Thembo had been the victim of unidentified attackers in the past, and that he had received numerous threats against his life.
The death of Amon Thembo Wa’Mupaghasya marks the third journalist to be murdered in Uganda as of 2010. The other two victims are listed on the dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.
UNESCO supported the training of 40 stringers and freelance reporters from the Gulu and Arua regions in 2011. The training focused on human rights reporting,
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…”