The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today called on the authorities of the Philippines to investigate the murder of publisher and columnist Larry Que in the town of Virac, in the central province of Catanduanes. “I condemn the murder of Larry Que,” said the Director-General. “I call on the authorities to do all they can to bring those responsible for this crime to trial. Journalists must be able to work under safe conditions to ensure the free flow of information. It is vital for society as a whole that their safety be protected.”
Larry Que was shot on 19 December. He wrote a column for Catanduanes News Now, a weekly of which he was the publisher. Que died from his injuries on 20 December.
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.
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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…”