Thursday, February 3, 2011

UNESCO condemns fatal attack on journalist Le Hoang Hung

Viet Nam: UNESCO condemns fatal attack on journalist Le Hoang Hung

03-02-2011 (Paris)

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has called for a full investigation of the 20 January attack that resulted in the death of Vietnamese journalist Le Hoang Hung. The reporter succumbed to severe injuries on 29 January in a Ho Chi Minh City hospital.

“I condemn the brutal attack on Le Hoang Hung that caused his death,” said the Director-General. “Freedom of expression is a key ingredient of democratic societies, vital to the rule of law, and it must be protected. Le Hoang Hung’s death must be fully investigated and his attacker brought to justice.”

Le Hoang Hung, 50, was a long-time reporter for The Worker newspaper. On January 20, an unknown assailant entered Hung's house in Tan An town, dousing him in chemicals and setting him ablaze. He suffered severe burns and was in critical condition before his death, according to local media. Colleagues indicated the attack could have been revenge for his investigative reporting.

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…”

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