UNESCO Director-General condemns murder of journalist Paul KlebnikovUNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today categorically condemned the murder of Paul Klebnikov, chief editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, who was killed in Moscow on July 9.
“I condemn the murder of Paul Klebnikov. This crime can only revolt all those who defend press freedom,” declared the Director-General. “I hope that the Russian authorities will do their utmost to pursue those responsible. The punishment of Paul Klebnikov’s killers would send a strong signal to all those who use violence in an attempt to muzzle the quality press, which is as indispensable in Russia as it is elsewhere.”
The Director-General recalled the resolution adopted by UNESCO’s General-Conference in 1997, urging legal action against the perpetrators of such acts and an end to impunity for crimes against journalists.
The son of Russian emigrants, Paul Klebnikov, 41, was born in the United States. He was appointed chief-editor of the Russian edition of the influential economic magazine earlier this year, and, according to diverse sources who have linked his murder to his work as a journalist, his life had recently been threatened.
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…”.