UNESCO chief deplores murder of Indian journalist; press freedom vital for democracy
Yet once again defending freedom of the press as a vital ingredient in democracy, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the murder of an Indian journalist who wrote about a scam in the world of illegal gambling.
According to the non-governmental organization (NGO) Reporters Without Borders, at least four people ambushed Narayan Dekate last week as he travelled on a motorbike with a friend on the road between Nagpur and Wardha, hitting him with stones. He died of his injuries in hospital.
“Journalists perform a vital service to democracy and rule of law by keeping the public informed,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement. “I trust that the Indian authorities will spare no effort in bringing Narayan Dekate’s assassins to justice and that they will not let criminals undermine the basic human right of freedom of expression.
“This is all the more vital as journalists’ freedom to exercise their profession is crucial for the ability of every single member of society to enjoy his or her individual and political rights,” he added.
Journalists in Nagpur suggest that the murder was linked to a recent article Mr. Dekate wrote in the Marathi-language regional daily Tarun Bharat about the gambling scam, according to the NGO.
UNESCO has 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.