The head of the United Nations body mandated to defend freedom of expression and press freedom has called for an investigation into the killing of a journalist in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 16 April.
Soleil Balanga was killed in the town of Monkoto, in the northern province of Equateur, after having used a megaphone to broadcast news in the streets of his town after the transmitter of his local radio station, Monkoto Soso Aleli, had broken down.
“I am shocked by the brutal murder of Soleil Balanga, which I strongly condemn,” Irina, Bokova, UNESCO Director-General said in a statement.
“I call on the authorities to bring those responsible for this killing to justice. Violence cannot be allowed to silence reporters and deprive the public of information it is entitled to receive.”
The Director-General issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled ‘Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.’
These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, which outlines the Organization’s mandate 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.’
As part of efforts to realize that purpose, UNESCO collaborates in advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication, and as part of that, the Director-General condemns all assassinations and physical violence against journalists as a crime against society, since such attacks curtail freedom of expression and, as a consequence, other rights and freedoms set forth in international human rights instruments.