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UNESCO Condemns Russian Reporter's Murder

UNESCO Chiefs Adds Voice To Condemnation Of Murder Of Russian Reporter

The head of the United Nations body mandated to defend freedom of the press added his voice today to the chorus of condemnations over the killing of the well-known Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, whose recent reporting had focused primarily on Chechnya.

“It is essential that Ms. Politkovskaya’s murderers receive sentences commensurate with the gravity of their actions to prevent the sense that the killing of journalists can be tolerated with impunity,” UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement.

“In view of this serious concern, I welcome the fact the (Russian) Prosecutor General is pursuing this painful case,” he added, calling Ms. Politkovskaya’s murder “a great loss to her profession, to her country and to the international community as a whole.

“Through her articles in Novaya Gazeta, Ms. Politkovskaya defended freedom of expression in Russia, a freedom that is a fundamental human right and a cornerstone of democracy,” he said.

Yesterday Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour strongly condemned the murder of the 48-year-old reporter, who was found shot dead on Saturday in a lift in her Moscow block of flats.

Ms. Politkovskaya addressed a seminar organized by UNESCO in Manila, the Philippines, to celebrate World Press Freedom Day in 2002 and contributed to other UNESCO conferences.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), she is the third journalist to be murdered in the Russian Federation this year.

ends

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