UNESCO condemns murder of journalist in Azerbaijan

8 March 2005

Yet again stressing the vital need of a free press for democracy, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the murder of an Azeri journalist who had reportedly long been the subject of harassment and pressure.

Elmar Huseinov, founder and editor of the Monitor magazine, was shot dead last week in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital.

“The right of journalists and editors to voice their views, whether we agree with them or not, must be respected,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said. “A free and independent press is not a luxury, it is an essential component of democracy and an indispensable condition for informed debate within any society that aims to be free and respect the rule of law.”

According to international freedom of expression organizations, Mr. Huseinov had long been subjected to harassment. One such group, Article 19, said it was “particularly concerned with the increasing climate of intolerance against the media.”

UNESCO’s mandate includes the defence of freedom of expression and press freedom, and it has issued numerous denunciations of violence against journalists around the world in recent years.

 

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