Honduras: UNESCO Director-General condemns murder of radio journalist Israel Zelaya Diaz
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, condemned the murder of the Honduran radio journalist Israel Zelaya Diaz, killed on 24 August, and called on Honduran authorities to take action against the surge of violence targeting local journalists since the beginning of the year.
"I condemn the murder of Israel Zelaya Diaz," said Ms Bokova. "It is vital that this crime be investigated thoroughly, just as every effort should be made to end the violence and intimidation targeting journalists in Honduras. It is the duty of the authorities to see that the basic human right of freedom of expression is recognized."
Israel Zelaya Diaz, known as Zagatay, was found shot to death on the edge of a sugarcane field near San Pedro Sula, second largest city in the country. According to the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF), he was shot three times in the head. He apparently had not received death threats, but his home had been damaged by arson three months ago.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the veteran journalist, age 62, reported on a variety of local topics for San Pedro Sula's Radio Internacional, including politics and crime, but according to his colleagues he was not involved in investigative work.
He was the ninth journalist killed in Honduras this year, according to RSF and the International Press Institute (IPI).
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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