The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), today condemned the murder of an Indian reporter in the north of the country but said he was confident New Delhi would not allow the killing to undermine press freedom.
“I condemn the murder of Prahlad Goala. In view of the essential role of the media in maintaining democracy and good governance, this killing must be considered a heinous crime against society as a whole,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement.
The Paris-based organization said Mr. Goala’s murder had followed the publication of a series of articles in which he linked local forestry officials to timber smuggling. He had received death threats after the articles were published in the Assamese-language daily Asomiya Khabar, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The CPJ reported that 32-year old Mr. Goala was riding a motorcycle near his home in eastern Assam on 6 January when he was apparently rammed by a truck. When police arrived at the scene, in the district of Golaghat, they found that Mr. Goala had been stabbed several times.
Today’s condemnation by the UNESCO chief is the latest in a long series he has issued recently over attacks on journalists around the world. UNESCO’s mandate includes the defence of freedom of expression and press freedom.