Director-General condemns assassination of Bangladeshi journalist Golam MahfuzUNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the assassination on May 31 of Golam Mahfuz, the editor of the daily newspaper Comilla Muktakantha, in Bangladesh and voiced concern over an increase in attacks on media professionals in the country.
“I condemn the assassination of Golam Mahfuz,” the Director-General said. “The killing of Mr Mahfuz is a heinous attack on democracy and rule of law. It is my sincere hope that the authorities will be able to elucidate this murder and bring its perpetrators to justice, an indispensable condition to stop attacks freedom of expression, which is a basic human right.”
“Reports of increasing violence and intimidation against journalists in Bangladesh are a cause of grave concern as to the profession’s ability to continue carrying out its important work adequately under such conditions,” Mr Matsuura concluded.
Mr Mahfuz, who was stabbed to death early in his house in Comilla, east of the capital Dhaka, is the fifth journalist killed in Bangladesh over the past year, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). Four people are reported to have been detained for questioning in connection with the attack.
Meanwhile, the Committee to protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported five separate incidents across Bangladesh in which more than 12 journalists came under violent attack from police, politicians and criminals over recent days. A recent report by the IFJ says that, over the past 12 months, 400 reporters received death threats and 320 were tortured in the country.
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…”