Director-General condemns murder of Brazilian journalist Valério Nascimento
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova today condemned the murder of Brazilian journalist Valério Nascimento, owner of the Panorama Geral newspaper on 3 May.
“Valério Nascinento was a journalist, newspaper owner and a politician, and his killing marks a clear attack on the right of citizens to engage in debate and political action; two essential and inter-related rights in any free democracy” the Director-General said. ‘I condemn his murder and I trust the authorities of Brazil will not let this crime - that took place as we were celebrating World Press Freedom Day - go unpunished.”
Valério Nascimento was shot in the backyard of his home in Rio Claro (state of Rio de Janeiro). A few days earlier, he had published an article alleging administrative irregularities in the city of Bananal, in the state of São Paulo. Valério Nascimento had run for office as president of the “Citizen’s Association”.
According to Reporters Without Borders, this is the second killing of a journalist in Brazil in one month. Luciano Pedrosa Leitão, of Radio Metropolitana FM, was shot in the countryside of Pernambuco state, in early April. The blogger Ricardo Gama suffered an attempt on his life and remained seriously wounded in late March when he was shot by an unidentified gunman in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
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…”