Thursday, February 3, 2011

UNESCO condemns murder of Indian journalist Umesh Rajput

UNESCO condemns murder of Indian journalist Umesh Rajput

03-02-2011 (Paris)

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has called for a thorough investigation into the murder of Indian journalist Umesh Rajput, who was shot dead near Raipur in India's central Chhattisgarh state on 23 January.

“I condemn the murder of Umesh Rajput,” said the Director-General. “Violence against journalists remains the most serious danger to freedom of expression, a fundamental human right underpinning all other civil liberties. I call on the authorities in India – a country that can be proud of its vibrant, free media - to investigate this crime thoroughly and bring the culprits to justice.”

According to media reports, Rajput, a reporter with the Hindi-language daily Nai Dunia, was shot late at night outside his residence by two masked gunmen. His family told the press he had received death threats because of a story he published two weeks earlier.

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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