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Director-General condemns murder of Indian journalist Jagajit Saikia

01-12-2008 (Paris)
Director-General condemns murder of Indian journalist Jagajit Saikia
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of Jagajit Saikia in India’s State of Assam on 22 November. The murder occurred in an area of Assam that has been prey to unrest.
“I condemn the killing of Jagajit Saikia,” said the Director-General. “The civilian status of journalists working in conflict areas must be respected. The fundamental human right of freedom of expression and the public’s right to be informed about the situation in troubled areas are essential for democracy and rule of law.”

Jagajit Saikia, a correspondent for the Assamese language daily Amar Asom, was shot by a group of armed men whilst riding his motorcycle home from work in a busy commercial area of the town of Kokrajhar.

According to the International Federation of Journalists, Mr Saikia is the second journalist to be murdered in the north-east of India since mid-November. In Assam alone, 16 journalists have been killed since 1991.

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

      · India
      · Press Freedom: News Archives 2008
      · UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists: News Archives 2008
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