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Director-General condemns fatal assault on Sierra Leonean newspaper editor Harry Yansaneh

03-08-2005 (Paris)
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura has condemned the killing of Harry Yansaneh, editor of For Di People newspaper, who died on July 28, apparently following an assault on May 10. The Director-General also condemned acts of vandalism against the newspaper.
“I condemn the attack on Mr Yansaneh and the acts of vandalism committed against For Di People newspaper,” Mr Matsuura declared. “For Di People has been subject to repeated attacks, the latest of which cost Mr Yansaneh his life. I trust that the authorities in Sierra Leone will spare no effort in bringing to trial those responsible for the editor’s death, for the sake of justice, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. These values, cornerstones of democracy and rule of law, are essential to the reconstruction and development of Sierra Leone, which has suffered from so much violence during the years of civil war,” the Director-General said.

Mr Yansaneh died of kidney problems after he was threatened and attacked by a group of people. His attackers are reported to have wanted to evict For Di People from its rented premises and to have been opposed to the newspaper because of its editorial line. The editor filed a complaint with the police after he was beaten up.

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…”
Related themes/countries

      · Sierra Leone
      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2005
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