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Director-General condemns killing of journalist Magomedzarid Varisov

04-07-2005 (Paris)
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of journalist Magomedzarid Varisov, who died of gunshot wounds on June 28 on a street in Makhachkala, Dagestan (Russian Federation).
"I condemn the murder of Magomedzarid Varisov,” Mr Matsuura said. “A well-known journalist and political analyst, he paid with his life for his commitment to reporting and disseminating information. Magomedzarid Varisov embodied freedom of expression, which is a human right. Everywhere in the world, the existence and safeguarding of a free and independent press are essential components of democracy, crucial for informed debate in every society that respects the rule of law and promotes the universal values of the Declaration of Human Rights. I trust that authorities will investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice,” concluded the Director-General.

Magomedzarid Varisov was killed in his car on June 28 in Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan. Director of the Republican Center of Strategic Initiatives and Political Technologies, he wrote the column Political analysis in the newspaper Novoye Delo. According to the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations (CJES, Moscow), the newspaper had received repeated phone call threats against him.

UNESCO is the only 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 purpose the Organization is required 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…”

(UNESCO Press Release No.2005-78)
Related themes/countries

      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2005
      · Russian Federation: News Archives 2005
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