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UNESCO chief condemns killing of journalists in Mexico, Philippines

UNESCO chief condemns killing of journalists in Mexico, Philippines

UNESCO head Koïchiro Matsuura
With two major journalists murdered this month, the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the killings and urged the protection of press freedom worldwide.

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today denounced the 22 June murder of Francisco Javier Ortiz Franco, co-founder of Zeta weekly of Tijuana, Mexico, and an investigative writer and editor on drug trafficking and corruption. It was the third attack on Zeta's editorial staff since 1988.

"Mr. Ortiz Franco was one of the founders of Zeta, which won respect for its independence and the quality of its investigations, illustrating the essential contribution of free media to democracy," the UNESCO chief said.

Earlier this week, Mr. Matsuura also deplored the shooting death of Radio Natin manager and political broadcaster Ely Binoya in General Santos City in the Philippines on 17 June.

"I am very concerned about this murder and about the large number of journalists killed in the Philippines in recent years," he said. "Resorting to the gun to silence the media is an attack on democracy, which hinges on public debate and on the diversity of sources for news and analyses."

The South East Asian Press Alliance says 44 journalists have been murdered and dozens injured in the Philippines since 1986, when democracy was re-established in the Pacific Ocean country.