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Director-General condemns assassination of Bangladeshi journalist Gautam Das

22-11-2005 (Paris)
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of Gautam Das, the Faridpur District bureau chief and correspondent of the daily “Samakal” in Bangladesh last Thursday.
“I condemn the brutal assassination of Gautam Das,” the Director-General declared. “I am shocked by the brutal killing of this young reporter and wish to support the large number of Bangladeshi journalists and other professionals who have been calling for the arrest and trial of the perpetrators of this crime. It draw some comfort from the fact that so many people in Bangladesh realize that this crime affects their society as a whole in view of the essential role journalists play in sustaining democracy and rule of law.”

Mr Das, 28, was found dead in his office on November 17, according to IFEX, the international freedom of expression network. It reports that he had been strangled and his hands and legs were fractured. The Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) have condemned the killing. Leaders of both organizations have demanded the arrest and punishment of the perpetrators of this murder.

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

      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2005
      · Bangladesh: News Archive 2005
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