23.07.2010 -

Director-General of UNESCO condemns murder of Greek journalist Socrates Giolias

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the brutal murder of Greek investigative journalist Socrates Giolias, who was shot to death by unidentified assailants on 19 July outside his home in the Ilioupolis suburb of Athens.

"I condemn the cold-blooded murder of Socrates Giolias," said Ms Bokova. "Violence against journalists constitutes an attack on the fundamental human right of freedom of expression. It is a direct threat to democracy. I count on the Greek authorities to do their utmost to bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime. They cannot be allowed to act with impunity."

 

Mr Giolias, 37, was the director of the radio station Thema 98.9 FM and also administered and wrote for the popular social and political blog Troktiko. According to press reports, he was lured out of his apartment early Monday morning by three men disguised as security personnel, who then opened fire on him. He was shot at least 20 times.

 

Colleagues said Mr Giolias was about to publish a report on corruption. "Somebody wanted to silence a very good investigative reporter who had stepped on a lot of toes with his stories," said Panos Sobolos, president of the Athens journalists' union, to BBC News.

 

Mr Giolias is the first journalist to have been assassinated in Greece since 1985.

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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