Director-General deplores the death of Colombian journalist Gustavo Rojas GabaloUNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today expressed his dismay over the announcement of the death of Gustavo Rojas Gabalo on 19 March at a clinic in Medellin (Colombia).
“The attack against Gustavo Rojas Gabalo last February has claimed his life. Targetted and grievously wounded by two unknown gunmen on 4 February last, he succumbed to his injuries after a long struggle. I have no doubt that the Colombian authorities will do their utmost to identify and bring to justice the authors of this murder, which is also an attack press freedom in Colombia,” Mr Matsuura said.
Gustavo Rojas Gabalo, 56, hosted a satirical programme on radio Panzenú for over 30 years. On several occasions he denounced corruption involving the administration and political representatives from the department of Cordoba.
According to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), the city of Montería, capital of the department of Cordoba, was recently the scene of another attack against press freedom: again in February, a journalist for the daily El Tiempo was forced to flee following death threats.
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…”