01.12.2008 -

Director-General condemns murder of Mexican journalist Armando Rodríguez

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing of Mexican crime reporter Armando Rodríguez in Ciudad Juárez and called for improvements in the safety of journalists in the country.

"I condemn the murder of Armando Rodríguez," said the Director-General. "The cold-blooded slaying of veteran crime reporter Armando Rodríguez highlights the long- recognized link between freedom of expression and rule of law. The ruthless criminal campaign being waged against the media in Mexico must be brought to an end. I trust that the authorities will spare no effort in investigating the killing of Armando Rodríguez and bring the culprits to justice."

 

Mr Rodríguez, 40, was shot by unidentified gunmen on the morning of 13 November. A crime reporter for the local daily El Diario, Mr Rodríguez, was sitting in his car in his garage at home when he was slain. His daughter, who was with him in the car, was unhurt.

 

According to press reports, Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, has been hit by a wave of drug-related violence that has claimed more than 1,000 lives this year.

 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that, since 2000, 24 journalists - including Mr Rodríguez - have been killed in Mexico. Seven more journalists have disappeared since 2005.

 

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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