16.02.2009 -

Director-General condemns killing of Malagasy journalist Ando Ratovonirina

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, has condemned the killing of Malagasy broadcast television journalist Ando Ratovonirina and called for improved safety of journalists.

"I condemn the killing of Ando Ratovonirina," declared the Director-General. "Ando Ratovonirina died in the line of duty, while reporting on events that are important for the whole of Malagasy society. His loss is a blow to a profession that is essential to the fundamental human right of freedom of expression, a right that is important to each and every one of us, a right that is vital for democracy and good governance. I call on the authorities to spare no effort in ensuring the safety of journalists, even in the midst of unrest."

 

Ando Ratovonirina, 25, was a reporter for the privately-owned Radio et Télévision Analamanga (RTA). He was shot dead while covering an anti-government demonstration outside the presidential palace in Antananarivo on 7 February.

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 purpose the Organization is required 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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