UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has denounced the murder of Russian journalist Kazbek Gakkiyev in Russia’s North Caucasus region and urged authorities to do their utmost to bring his killers to justice.
Kazbek Gekkiyev, a television news presenter for the All-Russia State Television and Radio Company (VGTRK), was shot dead on 05 December as he returned home from work with a friend in Nalchik, capital of the Republic of Karbardino-Balkaria.
“The murder of Kazbek Gekkiyev must not go unpunished,” the Director-General said. “I am encouraged by the rapid reaction of the Russian authorities, who pledged immediately that the crime would be investigated. Bringing the perpetrators to justice will send a clear sign to those who commit such acts that attempting to silence the media is not an option.
“The rights to freedom of expression, and the right of journalists to carry out their professional duties without fearing for their lives, are fundamental conditions for everyone to live in informed and peaceful societies.”
Kazbek Gekkiyev worked as a news anchor covering social issues for the regional branch of VGTRK. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that he was shot in the head by two gunmen, who had first checked his identity. His friend was left unharmed.
According to the CPJ, several VGTRK journalists have quit their jobs over the past year after receiving threats against their lives.
Kazbek Gekkiyev is remembered on the dedicated UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists site.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org, +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…”