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Director-General condemns murder of Mexican journalist Carlos Ortega Melo Samper

18-05-2009 (Paris)
Director-General condemns murder of Mexican journalist Carlos Ortega Melo Samper
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of Mexican journalist Carlos Ortega Melo Samper, shot dead in the street on 3 May in Santa Maria del Oro, Durango state (Mexico).
“I condemn the murder of Carlos Ortega Melo Samper,” declared the Director-General. “At the very moment the rest of the world was celebrating press freedom, this journalist was killed by his attackers’ bullets,” Mr Matsuura continued. “I hope the Mexican authorities, both local and federal, will do their utmost to elucidate this crime, which adds yet another name to the long list of attacks on journalists in the country. Leaving such crimes unpunished encourages more crimes.”

Carlos Ortega Melo Samper was a lawyer and the correspondent in Santa Maria del Oro for the regional daily Tiempo de Durango. He had worked previously at the Siglo de Durango. He frequently brought accusations against municipal officials in his articles. Three months ago, his house was shot at and his car burned. Only a few days before his murder, he had an altercation with the mayor and a municipal agent. According to his newspaper, the journalist had written a letter on 29 April describing the threats he had received and blaming in advance three local officials for what might happen to him.

Carlos Ortega Melo Samper was 52 years old. He was killed in the street on the afternoon of 3 May while fighting off several unidentified men who appeared to be trying to abduct him. According to press reports, 48 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000, and three since the beginning of the year.

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

      · Mexico
      · Press Freedom: News Archives 2009
      · UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists: News Archives 2009
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  • UNESCO Press Release No. 2009-43

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