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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
Director-General condemns the killing of Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara

21-12-2004 5:25 pm UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the killing on December 16 of Deyda Hydara, managing editor and co-owner of Gambia’ independent newspaper The Point, saluting his longstanding commitment in favour of freedom of the press. “I condemn the killing of Deyda Hydara,” the Director-General declared, “I trust that the Gambian authorities inquiry will lead to the trial of the perpetrators of this cowardly crime against a champion of press freedom and against democracy itself.”

Mr Matsuura went on to recall the Resolution adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO’s Member States in 1997 not to tolerate impunity in attacks against the press. “The media play an essential role in the functioning of democracy and it is of paramount importance that crimes against journalists are not left unpunished,” said the Directot-General. “Mr Hydara devoted his professional life to press freedom as a journalist, editor and non-governmental organization activist. His death is a great loss.”

Beside editing The Point, Mr Hydara (58), was a veteran correspondent of Agence France Presse (AFP) and of the international press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders. He was shot in the head as he was driving two colleagues home after leaving his office on the evening of December 16. Mr Hydara’s colleagues were injured in the attack.

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…”

Source Press Release No.2004-123

 ID: 24287 | guest (Read) Updated: 21-12-2004 5:29 pm | © 2003 - UNESCO - Contact