26.10.2010 - UNESCOPRESS

Director-General condemns murder of Brazilian journalist Francisco Gomes de Medeiros

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has condemned the murder of journalist Francisco Gomes de Medeiros in Rio Grande de Norte (Brazil) on October 18, and called for a thorough investigation into the crime.

“I condemn the murder of Francisco Gomes de Medeiros,” said Ms Bokova. “He was killed because he was carrying out his duty as a journalist to report on crime. He died for defending the basic right of freedom of expression, cornerstone of a democratic society. I call upon Brazilian authorities to make every effort to investigate his murder and apprehend the culprits.”

 

            According to the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Mr de Medeiros, 46, was killed on 18 October around 9 p.m. outside his home in the Paraíba neighborhood of Caicó, Rio Grande de Norte. One of two people on a motorcycle shot him five times. He died shortly after arrival at hospital.

 

             Known as F. Gomes, Mr de Medeiros was one the most respected crime reporters in the state, exposing illegal activities such as vote rigging and drug trafficking in his daily blog reports. He was also head of the news division of Radio Caicó FM where he hosted the daily program “Comando Geral” (General Command). 

 

            The International Press Institute notes that according to its Death Watch statistics, 18 journalists have been killed in Brazil because of their work in the last decade.

 

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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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