UNESCO Director-General condemns killing of Indonesian journalist Ridwan Salamun
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has condemned the murder of television journalist Ridwan Salamun, killed on 21 August while covering a clash between villagers in Tual, Malaku, Indonesia.
"I condemn the murder of Ridwan Salamun," Ms Bokova declared. "When journalists are covering events, whatever their nature, they should be guaranteed absolute immunity. Their impartiality as witnesses should be inviolable. Because independence is inherent to their profession, they must be assured that they will not be perceived as taking sides. I call on Indonesian authorities to make every effort to elucidate the circumstances of this murder, and ensure that justice is done."
According to the network International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), Mr Salamun was investigating a clash between inhabitants of two villages. He was hacked several times by angry villagers and later died of his wounds in hospital. The day after the event, reported IFEX, demonstrations were held by journalists in Jakarta, the capital, and in Denpasar, Bali.
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..."