Director-General condemns murder of Brazilian journalist Luiz Carlos Barbon Filho
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of Brazilian journalist Luiz Carlos Barbon Filho, gunned down by two unidentified men on 5 May in a Porto Ferreira bar, 200 km from São Paulo.
"I condemn the murder of Luiz Carlos Barbon Filho," declared the Director-General. "This vicious act targets not only the man, but also freedom of expression, a basic human right. I trust that the Brazilian authorities will do their utmost to bring to justice the perpetrators of this murder and those who hired them."
Luiz Carlos Barbon Filho, 37, contributed to local media Rádio Porto FM, Jornal do Porto and JC Regional. He was shot dead by two unknown assailants while sitting on the terrace of a bar near the Porto Ferreira bus station. In 2003, he uncovered a child prostitution ring in which four local businessmen and five city officials were implicated. A national journalism award ranked him a finalist that year in recognition of his investigative work.
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..."