The head of the United Nations agency mandated to defend press freedom today denounced the killing of Colombian journalist Luis Carlos Peralta Cuéllar in the “strongest possible terms” and urged local authorities to do their “utmost” to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“Press freedom is one of the pillars of democracy and good governance,” Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), declared in a press release. “Journalists must be able to exercise their profession without fearing for their lives.”
According to UNESCO, Mr. Cuéllar was the owner and director of the Linda Stereo radio station and regularly reported on corruption. The 63-year old journalist had received several threats to his life until he was killed on 14 February near his home in El Doncello, south-western Colombia, in what Ms. Bokova described as a “heinous crime.”
In a report released in March 2014, UNESCO stressed the growing trend of media workers being killed around the world. Focusing on the latest challenges affecting media development and freedom of expression, the report, called “World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development,” noted that more than 430 journalists were killed between 2007 and 2012.