Murder of Another Filipino Journalist Condemned
UNESCO Chief Condemns Murder of Another Filipino Journalist
New York, May 29 2006 12:00PM
Just 10 days after deploring the death of a Filipino press photographer, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the murder of Fernando "Dong" Batul, an outspoken journalist working in the Philippines who was shot dead earlier this month.
Koïchiro Matsuura's statement about the reporter working for the Palawan-based radio DYPR in Puerto Princesa who was killed on 22 May came on the heels of his condemnation of the killing of Albert Orsolino, who was shot and killed by in his car in Calooncan City by two unknown assailants on 16 May.
"I condemn the murder of Fernando "Dong" Batul," the Director-General declared. "I trust that the Philippines authorities will find the culprits of this heinous crime and bring them to justice. This is all the more important in view of the number of journalists assassinated in the country.
"It is completely unacceptable that murder be used to silence opinions," Mr. Matsuura added. "Such violence targets not only its individual victims but society as a whole, because open debate and the basic human right of freedom of expression are indispensable fundamental components of democracy and rule of law."
The Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility reported that Mr. Batul was shot dead by two men just one month after receiving death threats. It also said the 34-year-old was the fifth journalist killed in the Philippines this year, bringing to 59 the number of journalists who have died in the line of duty since the restoration of democracy in the Philippines in 1986.
Mr. Matsuura has issued frequent condemnations of the murder of journalists around the world in recent years as part of his mandate as UNESCO chief to defend press freedom and freedom of expression.