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UNESCO deplores ‘alarming’ increase in attacks

UNESCO deplores ‘alarming’ increase in attacks on journalists in Philippines

Deploring the murder of yet one more Philippines journalist, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has said that violence against reporters in the Southeast Asian country has reached “alarming proportions.”

George Benaojan, 27, who worked for radio Bantay Radyo sa Cebu and the written press, was shot while talking to a colleague at the market of Talisay, in Cebu, the 10th journalist to have been killed in the country this year and the 73rd since the return of democracy in 1986, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

“This is yet another attack on freedom of the press, and therefore on democracy and rule of law,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement.

“Violence against the profession has reached alarming proportions in the Philippines and I wish, once again, to pay tribute to the courage of journalists who continue exercising their profession in a particularly violent environment, despite the threats they receive,” he added.

His statement was the latest in a long series of condemnations he has issued recently over attacks on journalists around the world. UNESCO’s mandate includes the defence of freedom of expression and press freedom.

According to police, Mr. Benaojan had received death threats. One year ago he escaped an attempt to murder him and two colleagues.

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