The head of the United Nations body mandated to protect press freedom today condemned the murder of a Nigerian journalist as a “heinous crime” undermining democracy.
Godwin Agbroko, head of the editorial board of the privately owned daily This Day, was shot in his car in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, last month. A laureate of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Prize in 1997, he had edited several newspapers during military rule in the 90s, and was detained at least twice. He remained an influential commentator of political life after the country’s return to civilian rule in 1999.
“This heinous crime is a blow to independent journalism in Nigeria and to the basic human right of freedom of expression,” UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement.
“I trust that the authorities will spare no effort in investigating this case and in bringing the culprits to trial. This is all the more important in a country which, like Nigeria, enjoys a vibrant and diverse media that contributes to democracy and rule of law,” he added.
Mr. Matsuura has issued frequent condemnations of the murder of journalists around the world.