Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova today expressed condemnation on the recent murder of a prominent journalist in the Philippines.
Ms. Bokova called on authorities to investigate the crime thoroughly.
“I call on the Philippine authorities to shed light on this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.” – Ms. Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
She noted it is crucial that such an act, which violates the fundamental right to freedom of expression, does not go unpunished.
According to media reports, Christopher Guarin, publisher and editor in chief of the local daily tabloid Tatak in General Santos City, is the latest Filipino journalist to die by an assassin’s hand.
As Guarin was driving his wife and daughter home to their subdivision at 10 p.m., two motorcycle-riding gunmen overtook their car and fired at him. The wounded 41-year-old journalist managed to jump out of the car and run, apparently to lure the killers away from his family. He was mercilessly pursued and shot repeatedly in front of his wife. His wife suffered a superficial wound, and his 9-year-old daughter also survived unscathed.
Hours before the killing, Guarin had read on his evening radio talk show the latest death threat he had received on his mobile phone. He had been a frequent target of such threats, he said. He probably thought revealing them on air would serve as a form of protection or deterrent, but his enemies, on this particular night, proved him tragically wrong.
“This crime joins the long list of journalists that have been killed in the country since last year.” – Ms. Bokova
Ms. Bokova stressed that journalists who cover news in the Philippines should be able to work safely in order to provide citizens with free information and nourish an informed debate.
In 2009, at least 34 journalists are known to have died in the Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines.