08.03.2006 -

UNESCO Director-General condemns murder of Russian jounalist Ilya Zimin

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of Ilya Zimin, a reporter for NTV television, in Moscow on February 26.

"I condemn the brutal murder of Ilya Zimin," the Director-General said. "Free and independent media, both print and broadcast, play an essential role in upholding democracy and rule of law. Attacks against journalists therefore undermine society as a whole. I am very concerned," Mr Matsuura added, "about reports of violence against journalists in Russia but place full confidence in the authorities determination to investigate these crimes and bring their perpetrators to trial."

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that Ilya Zimin, 33, was found dead in his apartment in Moscow. Mr Zimin's body showed clear signs of violent struggle, as did the state of his apartment, according to the CPJ.

Mr Zimin, who won the Best TV Reporter prize of the Russian Television Academy in 2002, worked for an investigative programme on NTV, a broadcaster owned by the state oil company Gazprom. The CPJ reports that at least 12 journalists have been murdered in Russia since 2000.

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..."




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