Director-General condemns murder of journalist Roger Mariano, 3rd in Philippines this yearUNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura condemned the assassination of Philippines radio broadcaster Roger Mariano in Laoag City, in the north of the Philippines on July 31.
“I condemn the murder of Mr Mariano, which appears to be a cold blooded attempt to silence a critical voice,” said Mr Matsuura. “It is essential,” he added, “that the perpetrators of this cowardly act be brought to justice. The link between a free and independent press and democracy,” the Director-General concluded, “cannot be overstated. Intimidation and murder of journalists is therefore a crime against society as a whole, not just against the individuals targeted.”
UNESCO’s Member States recognized the importance of press freedom for democracy and the need to end the impunity of crimes against journalists when they adopted a resolution to that effect in 1997.
Roger Mariano, a broadcaster with DZJC-Aksyon Radio was shot dead by unknown assailants shortly after leaving the radio station. He is the third journalist to be killed in the Philippines this year and the 46th to be assassinated since the restoration of democracy in 1986.
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…”.