Director-General condemns assassination of Philippines journalist Allan DizonUNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the killing of photojournalist Allan Dizon in the city of Cebu (Philippines) on November 27, and called for active measures to bring his murderers to trial.
“I strongly condemn the murder of Allan Dizon,” the Director-General declared, “his death is a severe blow to democracy, which largely depends on the ability of the media to collect and disseminate information to the public.”
Mr Dizon, a photojournalist for the daily The Freeman and the tabloid Banat News is reported to have recently written about drug-trafficking in a Cebu neighbourhood, according to the non-governmental organization Reporters without Borders.
Before Mr Dizon’s assassination, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) reported that nine journalists had been killed in the Philippines this year alone and that a total of 45 had been murdered since the establishment of democracy in 1986. More journalists have been killed in the Philippines this year than in any other country, except Iraq. According to WAN, none of those responsible for the murder of journalists in the Philippines has been convicted.
In his declaration, the Director-General reacted to these reports: “I must, once again, express my grave concern over the high number of journalists who have been paying with their lives for the right to express themselves freely and carry out their professional duty. I must also call on the authorities to take active measures to bring those responsible for the murder of journalists to trial so as to curb these attacks which undermine Philippines society as a whole posing a threat to both democracy and rule of law.”
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…”