Director-General condemns murder of Nigerian journalist Godwin AgbrokoThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the murder of journalist Godwin Agbroko in Lagos, Nigeria and called for an investigation into the case.
“I condemn the murder of the journalist Godwin Agbroko,” said the Director-General. “This heinous crime is a blow to independent journalism in Nigeria and to the basic human right of freedom of expression.” Mr Matsuura added: “I trust that the authorities will spare no effort in investigating this case and in bringing the culprits to trial. This is all the more important in a country which, like Nigeria, enjoys a vibrant and diverse media that contributes to democracy and rule of law.”
Mr Agbroko, 53, was shot in his car in Lagos on the evening of 22 December. He was the head of the editorial board of the privately owned daily This Day. A laureate of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Prize in 1997, Mr Agbroko had edited several newspapers during the military rule of 1993 to 1999 and was detained at least twice during those years. He remained an influential commentator of Nigeria’s political life after the country’s return to civilian rule in 1999.
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…”