UNESCO chief deplores murders of journalists in Russia, Venezuela
|Publisher||UN News Service|
|Publication Date||26 January 2009|
|Cite as||UN News Service, UNESCO chief deplores murders of journalists in Russia, Venezuela, 26 January 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4982d0ae19.html [accessed 22 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The head of the United Nations agency tasked with upholding press freedom condemned the killings of journalists and a lawyer in Russia and Venezuela, underscoring that these murders are a contravention of human rights.
Journalist Anastasia Baburova and human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov were shot dead on 19 January while having a conversation outside a Moscow metro station. Mr. Markelov, who had just given a press conference, is believed to have been the target of the attack. Ms. Baburova worked for Novaya Gazeta, the same newspaper as investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, who was assassinated in 2006.
Also slain in Russia recently was Shafiq Amrakhov, owner and editor of the online regional news agency RIA 51 in Murmansk in the country's north-west. He was shot inside his apartment and died six days later.
"These killings represent a tragic blow to the basic human right of freedom of expression and to all other human rights, which are essential if good governance and the rule of law are to be upheld," said UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.
On 16 January, Orel Sambrano, editor of ABC, a weekly magazine, was shot and killed in broad daylight as he got out of his car in Valencia, a city in north-central Venezuela.
The 62-year-old, who was also the vice-president of the privately-owned Radio America 890AM station and a columnist for the regional daily Notitarde, had received death threats linked to his reports on drug trafficking.
The "deliberate targeting" of media professionals such as Mr. Sambrano is a setback to "democracy and rule of law which depend on the ability of the members of any society to hold free debates about issues of general concern and make informed decisions," said Mr. Matsuura.