UN calls for justice after journalists killed by gunmen in the Philippines and Syria
NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — Officials at the United Nations (UN) on Wednesday condemned the recent murders of journalists in the Philippines and Syria and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), called on authorities in the Philippines and in Syria to clarify the details behind the crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“It is crucial that such an act, which violates the fundamental right to freedom of expression, does not go unpunished,” Bokova said in a statement released by the UN agency.
Christopher Guarin, a presenter on Radio Mindanao Network and editor of Tatak News Nationwide, was returning home with his wife and children last Thursday when an unidentified person on a motorcycle opened fire on his vehicle, according to the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders.
The first gunshot wounded Guarin, who tried to escape. But the gunmen continued their attack, shooting him at least four more times before he passed away. His wife said he had received various death threats in the past.
“This crime joins the long list of journalists that have been killed in the country since last year,” said Bokova. “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.”
The shooting death of Guarin followed the murder of Syrian journalist Shoukri Ahmed Ratib Abu Bourghoul. He was attacked by a group of gunmen on December 30 and succumbed to his wounds three days later, on January 2.
The group of assailants had targeted Ahmed while he was on his way home in the town of Darya, which is located near the capital of Damascus. The journalist was returning home after presenting his weekly radio show.
Bokova also condemned Ahmed’s murder, calling his assassination an attack on press freedom and against the rights of journalists to carry out their mission. She went on to urge Syrian authorities to conduct an investigation to shed light on the conditions that led to his death.