1 November 2007
29-10-2007 (Paris) - The Director-General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, condemned the murder of Alisher Saipov who was killed in the Kyrgyz city of Osh, near the Uzbek border, on 24 October.“I condemn the murder of Alisher Saipov,” the Director-General declared, “the use of violence to silence a journalist is unacceptable, it runs counter to the basic human right of freedom of expression and tramples the democratic right of people to engage in free and informed debate. Shedding more blood is not going to solve the issues besetting Uzbek society,” concluded Mr Matsuura.
Alisher Saipov, 26, was shot three times at close range by an unknown assailant who is reported to have used a silencer, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Mr Saipov was the editor of independent Uzbek-language weekly Siyosat. He reported on Uzbekistan’s political and social issues for Radio Free Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America, and the Central Asia news website Ferghana.
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 purpose the Organization is required 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…”