UNESCO Brasilia Office condemns attack against Anhanguera Communication Network
It was with much disappointment and increasing concern that the UNESCO Office in Brasilia received the news of the grenade attack against the headquarters of a newspaper belonging to the Anhanguera Communication Network, last Wednesday night (21 January 2009) in the city of Campinas, São Paulo.
This attitude displays a willful disrespect against the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and the right to information, nonnegotiable principles of democracy, crucial to the exercise of free and investigative journalism, which is of ultimate importance for the promotion and protection of human rights.
"The fight against organized crime, corruption and other forms of violence calls for an active free press," said the UNESCO Representative in Brazil, Vincent Defourny. "This aggression draws attention to the fact that threats against press freedom are real, even in democracies like Brazil's," he added, "it reinforces the international perception that a careful monitoring and enhancement of mechanisms to protect the practice of journalism should be a constant concern to public authorities and society as a whole."
The UNESCO Office in Brasilia expresses its feeling of solidarity to the Anhanguera Communication Network and stresses the need for careful investigation of this case by the competent authorities.
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..."