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Director-General condemns murder of Nepalese journalist Birendra Shah

14-11-2007 (Paris)
Director-General condemns murder of Nepalese journalist Birendra Shah
Stop killing journalists
© Derstandard
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today, condemned the murder of Nepalese journalist Birendra Shah and voiced grave concern about reports of a growing campaign of intimidation of journalists.
“I condemn the murder of Birendra Shah,” the Director-General declared. “Freedom of expression is a basic human right and using force to silence journalists undermines the democratic rights of society as a whole. I trust that the authorities will do their utmost to bring the murderers of Mr Shah to trial. I am also gravely concerned about increasingly frequent reports of attempts to intimidate reporters and editors,” Mr Matsuura added. “Using physical violence or threats to keep reporters from doing their work is unacceptable and measures must be taken to stop these practices.”

Birendra Shah, 34, a correspondent for the Nepalese private radio station NepalFM, the Dristri Weekly and the television station Avenues TV, was abducted from his home in Bara district on 5 October and killed on the same day, according to the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ). His death was only made public on 5 November when the Maoist Party of Nepal admitted having killed the journalist.

According to Nepalese and international media organizations independent journalists and media companies have become the subject to increasing bullying by the Maoist Party of Nepal.

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

      · Nepal
      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2007
      · UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists: News Archives 2007
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