United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNESCO Director-General condemns assassination of Journalist in Cambodia

Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director–General of UNESCO, today condemned the assassination of Chuor Chetharith, a journalist of the Cambodian opposition radio station Ta Prum, in Phnom Penh on October 18 and called for action to track and prosecute those responsible for his killing.

“I am deeply shocked by the murder of Chuor Chetharith,” said the Director-General. “All the more so as it was carried out so shortly after the journalist was criticized publicly for exercising his freedom of expression. It is fundamental for democracy that the right of the media to express views and ideas, enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, must be respected.”

“Such crimes”, Mr Matsuura declared, “must be punished, in keeping with the resolution adopted at the 29th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1997, whereby all Member States qualified these crimes as attacks on democracy and undertook to prosecute and punish their perpetrators.”

“Professional organizations have recognized Cambodia’s good record in terms of press freedom in recent years and I hope that the country is able to retain its good ranking in this area,” the Director-General concluded.
Chuor Chetharith is the first journalist reported to be murdered in Cambodia since 1997.

Source Press Release No.2003-86
Generic Field
Publication Date 22 Oct 2003
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