30.08.2004 -

UNESCO Condemns Murder of Bangladeshi Journalist Kamal Hossain

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the murder on August 22 of investigative reporter Kamal Hossain in Bangladesh and voiced alarm at the unacceptable pressures exercised on the profession in that country.

"I condemn the murder of Kamal Hossain who appears to have paid for his investigative reporting of organized crime with his life," the Director-General said. "The fact that criminals are resorting to brutal acts to muzzle the voice of the media highlights the profession's importance to for transparency, democracy and rule of law."

According to the non-governmental organization Reporters without Borders, Mr Hossain is the third journalist to be murdered in Bangladesh this year. He was a reporter for the daily Ajker Kagoj, and Secretary General of the Press Club of Manikchhari in the southeast of the country.

I am alarmed by the heavy tribute being levied on media professionals in Bangladesh and I applaud their commitment to public information and freedom of expression, which is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", Mr Matsuura said

Reporters Without Borders says that there have been four cases of assault on journalists in Bangladesh since August 13 and that 60 journalists have received threats over the past month. Threats and assaults are alleged to be coming from political militants, criminal gangs and religious extremists.

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

(Source: Press Release No.2004-76)




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