Director-General condemns murder of Brazilian journalist Luciano Leitão Pedrosa
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the murder of Brazilian radio and television journalist Luciano Leitão Pedrosa on 10 April. Pedrosa presented the Ação e Cidadania (Action and Citizenship) programme on TV Vitória. He also reported for the FM radio station Metropolitana.
"Journalists must be free to work without fear. The public debate to which they contribute lies at the heart of democratic governance. The murder of Luciano Leitão Pedrosa is a direct attack against this debate, and against the basic human right of freedom of expression. I condemn this killing, which must not go unpunished," said the Director-General.
According to press reports quoted by the <a href="http://www.cpj.org/">Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)</a>, Luciano Leitão Pedrosa, 46, was shot in a restaurant in Vitória de Santo Antão in northeastern Pernambuco state. He was known for his critical coverage of local authorities and criminal groups and allegedly received frequent threats.
The CPJ reports that the shooting is the second such attack on a journalist in Brazil this year. The blogger Ricardo Gama was seriously wounded in late March when he was shot by an unidentified gunman in Rio de Janeiro.
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..."
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