Director-General condemns assassination of journalists in the PhilippinesThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the recent murder of three journalists in the Philippines: Juan “Jun” Pala on September 6, Rico Ramirez on August 20, and Noel Villarante one day earlier.
The Director-General declared: “I condemn this series of assassinations, among the dozens that have been carried out against members of the press in the Philippines in recent years. These killings undermine the Philippines’ proven commitment to freedom of the press since the return of democracy in 1986. As long as the gun is used to muzzle journalists, there can be no real freedom of expression. This is why, mindful of democracy and of the fundamental human right to freedom of expression, enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I support the government of the Philippines in its determination to investigate these crimes and punish their perpetrators.”
Mr Matsuura also recalled that “at the 29th session of the General Conference in 1997, all of UNESCO’s Member States undertook to investigate and prosecute those who murder journalists, when they adopted a Resolution urging the ‘authorities [to] discharge their duty of preventing, investigating and punishing such crimes and remedying their consequences’.”
Mr Pala, who had a daily programme on DXGO radio, died on Saturday in the southern city of Davao in the third attempt on his life. Rico Ramirez, a journalist for DXSF radio was murdered in the town of San Francisco in the province of Agusan del Sur and Noel Villarante, a reporter for DZJV radio and local newspaper Laguna Score, was shot and killed in Santa Cruz City, in central Laguna Province. A total of six journalists have been killed in the Philippines this year.
Corrigendum: This text replaces the one issued earlier