05.07.2010 - UNESCOPRESS

The Director-General of UNESCO condemns the murder of the Mexican journalists Juan Francisco Rodríguez Ríos and María Elvira Hernández Galeana

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, today condemned the murder of the Mexican journalists, Juan Francisco Rodríguez Ríos and his wife María Elvira Hernández Galeana, in Guerrero State in the west of the country on 28 June.

“I strongly condemn the murder of Juan Francisco Rodríguez Ríos and María Elvira Hernández Galeana. These two murders once more plunge an entire profession into mourning”, declared the Director-General. “I call upon the Mexican authorities to do everything in their power to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice, as such crimes must not remain unpunished,” she added.

Juan Francisco Rodríguez Ríos, correspondent for the newspaper El Sol de Acapulco in Coyuca de Benítez in the State de Guerrero and his wife María Elvira Hernández Galeana, a freelance journalist, were shot dead by unidentified criminals while they were working in the cyber-café they ran. Rodríguez Ríos was the local head of the National Union of Press Editors. According to local media, he had recently denounced the harassment of journalists in the region.            

According to the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), these two murders bring the total number of journalists killed in Mexico since the beginning of the year to six.

UNESCO is the only United Nations agency whose mission consists in defending the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press. By virtue of Article I of its Constitution, the Organization is called upon “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.” To this end, it “collaborates in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommends such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image.”    

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