Director-General condemns killing of Philippines journalist Marlina "Len" Flores-Sumera
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today condemned the murder of radio news anchor Marlina "Len" Flores-Sumera in Malabon City in the Philippines on 24 March.
"I condemn the killing of Marlina 'Len' Flores-Sumera, which I learnt about during my recent visit to the Philippines" the Director-General said. "The killing of journalists is a severe attack on the basic human right of free expression and on society's freedom to engage in informed debate.
"During my visit, I saw first hand the government's firm commitment to a human rights-based approach to development. This is about fulfilling basic needs like health and education, but also about guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression.
"I trust the authorities, who made it very clear that there would be no impunity for such crimes, will spare no effort in bringing those responsible for murder of Marlina Flores-Sumera to justice."
Flores-Sumera, aged 45, was killed by a lone gunman as she was leaving home for work. She was a news anchor for radio station dzME's Arangkada 1530. According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, she is the 143rd journalist killed since the return of democracy in 1986.
UNESCO has been a key partner in media development in the Philippines, where it pioneered the establishment and growth of community radio in the early 1990s.
UNESCO is the 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."