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Director-General condemns murder of Indian journalist Prahlad Goala in the state of Assam

12-01-2006 (Paris)
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of reporter Prahlad Goala in the district of Golaghat in Assam (Northern India) on 6 January.
“I condemn the murder of Prahlad Goala,” the Director-General declared. “In view of the essential role of the media in maintaining democracy and good governance, this killing must be considered a heinous crime against society as a whole. I am confident,” Mr Matsuura concluded, “that India will not allow this cowardly assassination to undermine its dynamic, free and pluralistic media industry.”

Mr Goala’s murder follows on the publication of a series of articles in which he linked local forestry officials to timber smuggling. He had received death threats after the articles were published in the Assamese-language daily Asomiya Khabar, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The CPJ reports that 32-year old Mr Goala, was riding a motorcycle near his home in eastern Assam when he was apparently rammed by a truck. When police arrived at the scene, they found that Mr Goala had been stabbed several times.

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 2006
      · India: News Archive 2006
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