UNESCO chief welcomes release of jailed Cuban journalist

1 December 2004
UNESCO head Koïchiro Matsuura

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), an international defender of press freedom, has welcomed the release from prison of a Cuban journalist after 18 months in detention.

“Many people around the world are delighted with this news,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said after Raúl Rivero Castañeda, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in April 2003 alongside 25 other journalists handed long jail terms, was freed.

“This is a sign of hope for all imprisoned journalists throughout the world,” he added.

Mr. Rivero is the Laureate of the 2004 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and Mr. Matsuura said he looked forward to rewarding him in person with the prize the agency gave him in absentia earlier in the year.

Mr. Matsuura has repeatedly stressed the essential role the media play in a democratic society, and this year alone he has issued many denunciations of the murder of reporters around the world, declaring that “attacks on journalists must be treated as attacks on society and on rule of law.”


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