United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Director-General condemns killing of Brazilian journalist Ajuricaba Monassa de Paula

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the beating to death of freelance journalist Ajuricaba Monassa de Paula in Guapirimim, in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro on 24 July.

“I condemn the killing of Ajuricaba Monassa de Paula,” declared the Director-General. “Beating a journalist to death is a poor substitute for the sort of democratic debate that can be fostered by free and independent media. Resorting to violence to muzzle different opinions is an unacceptable breach of the fundamental human right of freedom of expression. Such a crime cannot be tolerated in a democratic society,” Mr Matsuura concluded.

According to the Brazlian Press Association, Mr Monassa de Paula, a 73-year-old freelance journalist, was beaten to death by municipal councilor Osvaldo Vivas, who is also a martial arts expert, during an argument on the central square of Guapirimim.

Having begun his career in journalism with the daily Imprensa Popular, Mr Monassa de Paula continued to write for magazines and websites. He was a constant critic of the municipal government, the Brazilian Press Association said.

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 N°2006-93
Publication Date 03 Aug 2006
© UNESCO 1995-2007 - ID: 34075