23.12.2009 -

Director-General condemns killing of Colombian journalist Harold Humberto Rivas Quevedo

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, today condemned the murder of Colombian television journalist Harold Humberto Rivas Quevedo on 15 December and called for an investigation into this crime.

“I condemn the murder of Harold Humberto Rivas Quevedon,” declared the Director-General. “It is essential that a full investigation be carried out into this crime, which affects Colombia’s democracy and respect for rule of law. Unless the authorities are seen to punish those who use violence to silence the media, fear and self-censorship may stop journalists’ from voicing the whole truth as they see it in their reporting.”

Harold Humberto Rivas Quevedo, 49, hosted a political commentary show Comuna Libre on local TV station CNC Bugavisión. He was also a sports commentator on the local radio station Voces de Occidente. He was shot by an unidentified gunman while visiting a funeral home in the western Valle del Cauca province.

UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

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