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Killing Of Kyrgyz Journalist

UNESCO Chief Deplores Killing Of Kyrgyz Journalist

New York, Dec 24 2009 10:10AM The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending the freedom of the press today condemned this week's murder of a journalist known to have been highly critical of authorities in Kyrgyzstan and voiced deep concern about what she described as "unacceptable pressure" against the media in the Central Asian country.

The Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk died on Tuesday after being bound around his feet and hands and then thrown from the window of a sixth-floor apartment in Almaty, the largest city in neighbouring Kazakhstan. He had arrived in the city six days earlier.

Mr. Pavlyuk, who was also known under the pseudonym of Ibragim Rustambek, worked as editor of the Kyrgyz edition of Komsomolskaya Pravda and contributed to the independent newspaper Bely Parokhod.

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), issued a statement from the ag ency's Paris headquarters in which she urged that "full light" be shed on the circumstances of the killing.

"It is essential for the whole of Kyrgyz society that the authorities spare no effort in upholding the basic human right of freedom of expression," Ms. Bokova said.

"I am deeply concerned about reports of unacceptable pressure on the press in Kyrgyzstan, which, like every country, requires open debate for its political, social and economic development."

UNESCO stated that Mr. Pavyluk was reported to have been highly critical of Kyrgyz authorities.

The agency is the only UN entity mandated to protect press freedom and throughout the years has drawn attention to killings and other attacks against journalists and media workers.

ENDS

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