Deploring Russian reporter’s murder, UNESCO stresses press freedom’s vital role

13 March 2006

Condemning the murder of yet another Russian journalist, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has underscored the vital role of a free and independent media in upholding democracy.

Condemning the murder of yet another Russian journalist, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has underscored the vital role of a free and independent media in upholding democracy.

NTV television reporter Ilya Zimin was found dead in his apartment in Moscow at the end of last month, his body showing clear signs of violent struggle, as did the state of his apartment, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Mr Zimin, who won the Best TV Reporter prize of the Russian Television Academy in 2002, worked for an investigative programme on NTV, a broadcaster owned by the state oil company Gazprom. The CPJ reports that at least 12 journalists have been murdered in Russia since 2000.

“Free and independent media, both print and broadcast, play an essential role in upholding democracy and rule of law,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement. “Attacks against journalists therefore undermine society as a whole.

“I am very concerned about reports of violence against journalists in Russia but place full confidence in the authorities’ determination to investigate these crimes and bring their perpetrators to trial,” he added.

UNESCO is the only UN agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom, and Mr. Matsuura has issued frequent condemnations of the murder of journalists around the world in recent months.

 

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