06.10.2009 -

Director-General of UNESCO condemns the killing of Nigerian news editor Bayo Ohu

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing of Bayo Ohu, the assistant news editor of the Nigerian daily newspaper, The Guardian, on 20 September.

"I condemn the killing of Bayo Ohu," said the Director-General. "Freedom of expression is a basic human right and its corollary, press freedom, is essential for democracy and rule of law. Therefore, I trust that the authorities, in the interest of the whole of Nigerian society, will do all they can to bring the culprits of this crime to justice."


Several gunmen shot Bayo Ohu dead in his home on Sunday morning as he was preparing to go to a church service. The shooters removed the victim's laptop and mobile phone from the house, leading to speculation that the killing may have been linked to his work as a journalist, according to the International Press Institute (IPI).


The IPI reports that "Nigeria has seen at least two killings of journalists since 2006."

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..."

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