The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot on 5 September.
“I condemn the murder of Gauri Lankesh,” the Director-General stated. “Any attack on the media is an attack on the fundamental right to freedom of expression of each member of society. I urge the Indian authorities to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice and this crime is punished.”
Lankesh, 55, was the editor and publisher of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada-language weekly, and an outspoken critic of right-wing extremism. She was fatally shot by at least three unknown assailants outside her home in the district of Rajarajeshwari Nagar of Bangaluru(formerly Bangalore), South India.
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…”