16.11.2009 -

Director-General condemns murder of Mexican journalist Vladimir Antuna García and calls for investigation

The Director-General of UNESCO condemned the murder of Vladimir Antuna García, whose dead body was found in the city of Durango in Mexico on 2 November.

"I condemn the murder of Vladimir Antuna García," declared the Director-General. "I am concerned that the ability of journalists to pursue their professional activities and exercise the fundamental human right of freedom of expression is severely reduced in the climate of fear created by the recent wave of killings in Mexico. I trust that the authorities will spare no effort in identifying and prosecuting the culprits of these crimes that undermine society as a whole, setting unacceptable limits to democracy, good governance and rule of law."

 

The International Press Institute (IPI) reports that Vladimir Antuna García, who was a crime correspondent for El Tiempo de Durango newspaper, had reported receiving death threats in recent months. On several occasions a caller allegedly identified himself as a member of a local crime gang with known links to a drug cartel. In April, Vladimir Antuna García escaped a gun attack, one month before his El Tiempo de Durango colleague, Carlos Ortega Samper, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen.

 

According to IPI, this latest killing brings to seven the number of journalists murdered in Mexico this year.

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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