UNESCO Director-General condemns murder of Filipino journalist Gerardo Ortega
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, condemned the murder of Filipino radio commentator Gerardo Ortega, who was shot dead on 24 January in Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan, south of Manila.
"I condemn the murder of Gerardo Ortega," said the Director-General. "It is unacceptable that yet again, firearms have been used to silence the voice of someone who in his work defended the right of citizens to be informed, a fundamental right of democratic society. I call on the authorities of the Philippines to do their utmost to investigate this crime and find the culprits."
Gerardo Ortega, who hosted a daily radio show on the station Radio Mindanao Network (RMN), died after being shot in the head in a clothing store. The police arrested the killer, a hired gunman. According to the Ortega family lawyer, the broadcaster was a critic of illegal mining activities in Palawan. Ortega also reported on alleged corruption and had received threats.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) says 142 journalists have been killed since the restoration of democracy in 1986.
UNESCO is the 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..."