UNESCO chief deplores journalist’s murder in Russia as blow against democracy

5 July 2005

Raising his voice yet again in defence of freedom of the press, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the murder of a journalist in the Russian Federation republic of Dagestan as another blow against an essential component of democracy.

Raising his voice yet again in defence of freedom of the press, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the murder of a journalist in the Russian Federation republic of Dagestan as another blow against an essential component of democracy.

Magomedzarid Varisov was killed in his car on 28 June in Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan. Director of the Republican Centre of Strategic Initiatives and Political Technologies, he wrote a column of political analysis in the newspaper Novoye Delo. According to the Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations (CJES, Moscow), the newspaper had received repeated phone call threats against him.

“A well-known journalist and political analyst, he paid with his life for his commitment to reporting and disseminating information,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement.

“Everywhere in the world, the existence and safeguarding of a free and independent press are essential components of democracy, crucial for informed debate in every society that respects the rule of law and promotes the universal values of the Declaration of Human Rights. I trust that authorities will investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice,” he added.

Mr. Matsuura’s statement was the latest in a long series of condemnations he has issued recently over attacks on journalists around the world. UNESCO’s mandate includes the defence of freedom of expression and press freedom.

 

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