UNESCO chief condemns yet more murders of journalists

13 February 2004

For the fifth time this year the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) condemned the murder of journalists today as “an intolerable undermining” of one of the pillars of democracy, this time deploring the killings of reporters in the Philippines and Nicaragua.

“It is essential that such crimes be punished,” Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said of the shooting of Ruel Endrinal in Legaspi City in the Philippines on 11 February and Carlos Guadamuz in Managua, Nicaragua, on 10 February.

“I am particularly appalled by the heavy tribute paid by media professionals in the Philippines, where I note a sharp increase in the number of journalists killed over the past year, despite the efforts of the authorities to fight these crimes,” Mr. Matsuura added.

According to professional organizations, Mr. Endrinal’s murder brings to 44 the number of journalists killed in the Philippines since democracy was restored in the country, in 1986. Seven journalists are reported to have been killed in the Philippines in 2003, the worst year for the profession in that country since 1986.

Earlier this week Mr Matsuura condemned the “heinous” assassination of an outspoken Colombian journalist, and at the beginning of the month deplored the murder of journalists and media staff in Iraq and Pakistan. Last month he condemned killings in Bangladesh, Colombia, Costa Rica, Gabon, Indonesia and Ukraine.


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