OUTRAGE AT MURDER OF COLOMBIAN JOURNALIST
Paris, November 19 (No.2001-126)
- UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today expressed outrage at the
murder of yet another Colombian journalist, Heriberto Cardenas Escudero, a
former correspondent for the Bogota dailies El Tiempo and El
Espectador as well as several local radio stations.
“I am outraged by this
murder, yet another tragic demonstration of the hurdles facing Colombian
journalists in the exercise of their profession,” Mr Mastuura said. “It is
indispensable, for the sake of freedom of expression and democracy, that the
perpetrators of such crimes be brought to justice”, he declared.
Mr Cardenas Escudero was shot
at least ten times in his home in Buenaventura, on November 14 by four gunmen
who also killed his nephew and injured one of his brothers.
Although the identity of his
killers and motive for the murder have not been established, police believe that
Mr Cardenas Escudero is likely to have been murdered because of his professional
work, despite the fact that he had almost ceased working as a journalist over
the past year.
During the first six months of
this year alone, nine Colombian journalists have been assassinated, 27 have
received threats to their lives and five have gone into voluntary exile,
according to the local Foundation for Press Freedom, quoted by El Espectador.
According to press freedom organizations, Colombia is one of the most dangerous
countries for journalists.
Over the past few years,
professional media organizations have been calling for measures to prevent such
crimes, in line with the resolution voted unanimously by UNESCO’s General
Conference in 1997, calling on all Member States to take all necessary measures
to prevent such crimes, investigate them and punish their perpetrators.