The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today condemned the recent killings of two journalists in South-East Asia – one in Cambodia and the other in the Philippines – and called for investigations into their deaths.
“I am deeply concerned by the killing of Hang Serei Oudom,” the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, said in a news release. “This is the first murder of a journalist in Cambodia in a long time and I trust that the Cambodian authorities will do all in their power to bring those responsible for this crime to justice.”
“I condemn the murder of Eddie Jesus Apostol. It is important that the authorities conduct a serious investigation into this killing and ensure that the perpetrators are punished for their crime,” Ms. Bokova added in another news release.
According to UNESCO, Mr. Oudom was a 44-year-old reporter covering environmental issues for the Vorakchun Khmer Daily and had been working on articles about illegal logging. On 11 September, his body was found in the boot of his car at a cashew nut plantation in the northern province of Ratanakiri.
Leasing airtime on DXND Radio, Mr. Apostol was a former town councilor who co-hosted a weekly radio programme about issues of concern to indigenous people and science in the southern province of Maguindanao in the Philippines. He was found dead on 1 September near the town of Sultan sa Barongis.
Forty-eight journalists and media workers, including Mr. Apostol, have been killed in the Philippines since 2008.
“Crimes against media personnel must be brought to justice to prevent a climate of fear from constricting journalists’ ability to claim their human and professional right to freedom of expression,” Ms. Bokova added.