Director-General condemns killing of Philippines journalist Ponciano GrandeThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the killing of Philippines broadcaster Ponciano Grande and called for an investigation into the crime.
“I condemn the murder of Ponciano Grande,” the Director-General said. “I must also call on the Philippines authorities to spare no effort in tracking the murderers of Mr Grande and bringing them to trial. “The perpetrators of such crimes,” Mr Matsuura added, “are undermining the basic human right of freedom of expression and democracy of which it is a cornerstone.”
Ponciano Grande, a broadcaster and former columnist from Nueva Ecija, was shot and killed by two attackers just metres from his wife, Annie Liwag-Grande, on 7 December, while visiting his farm in Barangay, Sta. Arcadia, Cabantuan City. Local reports said the assassins chased Liwag-Grande but did not harm her.
Mr Grande is the 11th journalist killed in the Philippines this year, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which says that 47 journalists have been killed in the country since 2001.
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 the Organization is requested 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…”