22.05.2006 -

Director-General condemns murder of Indonesian journalist Herliyanto

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of freelance journalist Herliyanto in Takoran, in the east of Java (Indonesia).

"I condemn the brutal murder of Herliyanto," the Director-General declared. "The extreme violence of his murderer, or murderers, is abhorrent. This heinous crime must not go unpunished. Violence against journalists represents an attack not just on individuals but on society as a whole. Freedom of expression is recognized as a basic right by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I trust that the Indonesian authorities will spare no efforts in finding the culprits and bringing them to trial."


Herliyanto, 40, wrote for several publications, including the Delta Pos Tabloid of Sidoarjo and the Visual Tabloid of Jakarta. His body was found on 29 April in a forest near the village of Takoran. An autopsy revealed numerous stab wounds. According to police, theft could not have been a motive for the crime as the journalist's personal effects, including his motorcycle, were not stolen. His camera and notebook, however, were reported missing.


According to the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), Herliyanto in recent articles reported complaints against the head of the village of Tulupari for manipulating a subsidized rice rationing programme. He had also written about fresh water trafficking in another village. Herliyanto was working on other articles about alleged abuses by local authorities when he was killed.


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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