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Director-General condemns murder of Philippines journalist Godofredo Linao

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of Philippines radio journalist Godofredo Linao on 27 July and called for the perpetrators of this crime to be brought to trial.

05-08-2009 (Paris)

“I condemn the murder of Godofredo Linao,” the Director-General declared. “Journalists in the Philippines have been made to pay an intolerably heavy price to exercise the basic human right of freedom of expression and to inform all Philippines citizens of events affecting their society. I trust that the authorities will spare no effort in bringing to justice the culprits of these crimes, which undermine the rights and freedoms of all the citizens of the Philippines.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that two unidentified men shot Godofredo Linao in the back near the offices of Radyo Natin, where he worked as a commentator, in Surigao del Sol province on southern Mindanao Island.

Mario Alviso, manager and owner of the radio station, told the Associated Press that Godofredo Linao may have been targeted for his political broadcasts. Mr Linao was also involved in local politics and was due to run as a candidate in the 2010 elections.

According to the International Press Institute, Godofredo Linao is the fourth journalist to be killed in the Philippines 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 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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