The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has condemned the killing of Colombian journalist Argemiro Cárdenas Agudelo and urged a full inquiry into his shooting.
“I condemn the murder of Argemiro Cárdenas Agudelo,” the Director-General said. “This crime is a set-back for freedom of expression and freedom of information, particularly for community radios which serve some of the country’s most vulnerable populations. It is essential this crime be investigated thoroughly, so as to protect the basic human right of freedom of expression and community radio operations that UNESCO has always supported in Colombia.”
Cardenas was shot dead on 15 March in Dosquebradas, in Risaralda department. A politician and former mayor of the town, he was also the head of the community radio station Metro Radio Estéreo and a contributor of other stations. Since 2010, he had been running Red Radial Cafetera radio and he was a member of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).
A total of four journalists have been killed in Colombia since 2009. They are remembered in the dedicated web page UNESCO Condemns the Killing of Journalists.
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…”