UN expert on freedom of expression deplores murder of Turkish Armenian editor

24 January 2007

An independent United Nations expert on freedom of opinion has added his voice to the chorus of condemnation over the murder of the editor of the Turkish Armenian-language weekly Agos, Hrant Dink, known for his critical work on a specific period of the history of Turkey.

“The exercise of freedom of speech should always be guaranteed for the consideration of historical events,” the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Ambeyi Ligabo, said in a statement.

“Most unfortunately, extreme polarization of views, in conjunction with a perverted sense of national identity, has again inspired the accomplishment of an ominous act, which has curtailed the practicability of debating, in a tolerant and open manner, a subject of wide general interest,” he added.

He stressed that safety of media workers remains one of the core issues to ensure the full exercise of the right to freedom of expression, a key component of all democratic societies.

“Governments and state institutions have the primary responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of citizens, including journalists and other media professionals,” he said, adding that he was encouraged by the prompt reaction of the Government of Turkey in investigating “this heinous crime.”

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid and serve in a personal capacity, reporting to the UN Human Rights Council.

 

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