23.12.2009 -

Director-General condemns murder of Turkish journalist Cihan Hayirsevener

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Turkish journalist Cihan Hayirsevener, who was shot dead on 18 December in Bandirma in Balikesir province. Ms Bokova also called for an investigation into the killing.

“I condemn the killing of Cihan Hayirsevener,” declared the Director-General. “Democracy and violence against the press are incompatible. It is essential for the sake of Turkish society as a whole and for the sake of the basic human right of freedom of expression that the authorities bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime.”

Cihan Hayirsevener, 53, was the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Güney Marmara’da Yaşam (Life in Southern Marmara), published in the west of the country. According to Turkish media, the editor had recently received death threats in connection with his reporting on a local corruption scandal.

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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