UNESCO Director-General condemns murder of journalist Magomedvagif Sultanmagomedov in Dagestan
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has condemned the murder of Magomedvagif (Sultan) Sultanmagomedov on 11 August in the Republic of Dagestan (Russian Federation). He was the editor-in-chief of the television station Makhachkala-TV and had escaped a previous attempt on his life in 2008.
"I condemn the murder of Magomedvagif Sultanmagomedov," said Ms Bokova. "The killing of a journalist constitutes an attack against freedom of expression, a fundamental human right. Furthermore, it is an attack on our freedom as citizens to be informed and to participate in the democratic process. I call on authorities to do their utmost to ensure that the ongoing investigation solves this crime."
Mr Sultanmagomedov's car came under submachine-gun fire in central Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan, according to Radio Liberty. He died of his gunshot wounds in hospital.
According to the network International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and the Glasnost Foundation, Mr Sultanmagomedov was formerly with the Islamic Education Division of Dagestan's Religious Board of Muslims. He took over as Makhachkala-TV editor after his predecessor, Abdullah Alishayev, was shot and killed on 2 September 2008.
The murder follows those last May near Makhachkala of Shamil Aliyev, head of radio stations and a television network, and Sayid Ibragimov, director of a local television channel, as well as four technicians who had gone to the site of a sabotaged television relay station.
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..."