UNESCO Director-General condemns murder of Philippine photographer Albert OrsolinoUNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the murder of photographer Albert Orsolino on 16 May in Calooncan City (Philippines), and reiterated his concern over the particularly violent conditions under which journalists work in this country.
“I condemn the murder of Albert Orsolino,” the Director-General said. “The heavy price paid by journalists in the Philippines is a cause for concern to all who defend press freedom. Everything must be done to guarantee better protection for information professionals in the Philippines.
“When violence poses a permanent threat for journalists, it poses a threat to the whole of society. When crimes against journalists remain unpunished, the future of a country is endangered and organised crime or corruption become the main beneficiaries of this impunity.”
A former president of the Camanava Press Corps, Orsolino worked for the daily Saksi Ngzayon. Two unknown assailants shot and killed him in his car on 16 May.
According to the International Federation of Journalists, Orsolino is the fourth journalist killed in the Philippines in 2006 and the 78th since the restoration of democracy in 1986. This places the Philippines in second position, after Iraq, on the list of most dangerous countries for journalists to work in.
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…”