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Director-General condemns assassination of Philippines journalist Crispin Perez and calls for thorough investigation

01-07-2009 (Paris)


The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of Philippines radio commentator Crispin Perez on 9 June in Occidental Mindoro.

“I condemn the killing of Crispin Perez,” declared the Director-General. “I am gravely concerned by the high number of Philippine journalists who pay with their lives for exercising the fundamental human right of freedom of expression and the basic political right and democratic requirement of citizens to receive independent information about what goes on in their country. To curb violent attacks on journalists in the Philippines, the authorities will have to carry out a thorough investigation of this particular crime, a step I trust they will indeed undertake.”

Crispin Perez was shot on his way home after broadcasting his morning show on DWDO radio station. The radio commentator, who was also a lawyer and a former governor of Occidental Mindoro, was stabbed and shot by an unidentified man who fled on a motorcycle.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Mr Perez is the fourth journalist killed in a shooting attack in the Philippines this year. The CPJ also reports that two other radio journalists, Nilo Labares and Harrison Manalac, survived gunshot wounds following attempts on their lives in March and May 2009 respectively.

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…”