Director-General condemns murder of Sri Lankan journalist Dharmeratnam Sivaram "Taraki”UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura in Dakar for World Press Freedom Day celebrations condemned the murder of Dharmeratnam Sivaram "Taraki", editor of the news website TamilNet and columnist for the Sri Lankan Daily Mirror newspaper on April 28.
“I condemn the murder of Dharmeratnam Sivaram,” the Director-General said. “This shameful crime has led to a great loss for Sri Lankan journalism and for UNESCO. Mr Sivaram had worked with us on the creation of the Media Resource and Training Center, MRTC, in Jaffna in the North of Sri Lanka.”
“It is tragic that I have to make this condemnation today, on World Press Freedom Day, which UNESCO is celebrating in Dakar this year,” the Director-General declared. The killing of Mr Sivaram underscores the fact that attacks against the media are cowardly attacks against democracy and rule of law. I trust that the authorities will do all in their power to bring those responsible for this murder to justice and that they will not let criminal actions undermine coexistence in a country that has suffered so much from internal strife in recent decades.”
Mr Sivaram was abducted on the evening of April 28 and found shot dead a few hours later. The nongovernmental organization, Reporters Without Borders, says that the journalist had feared for his life because of “uncompromising coverage of the military situation” in Sri Lanka.
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…”