Written by UNESCOPRESS (Wednesday, 02 June 2010)
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today deplored the death of Italian freelance photographer Fabio Polenghi, who was shot and killed in Bangkok on the night of 18 May while covering clashes between Thai government forces and demonstrators. Ms Bokova called on concerned parties to allow journalists to do their work and to respect the fundamental right of freedom of information.
A Dutch reporter and a US documentary filmmaker were also injured in the same clashes, and three other journalists were wounded in previous days, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
“Journalists should not have to risk their lives when reporting on complex and particularly tense situations,” said Ms Bokova. She called on the Thai authorities to do their utmost to shed light on the circumstances of Mr Polenghi’s death, which follows the fatal shooting of Hiroyuki Muramoto, a Japanese cameraman working for the Reuters news agency, on April 10. “Their fate underlines the danger that brave journalists face every day in upholding freedom of information, a basic human right.”
Fabio Polenghi, 45, was an established photographer whose work over the last 30 years had appeared in prestigious magazines including Vogue and Vanity Fair, said RSF. He had been in Thailand for three months on an assignment for a European magazine.
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 the Organization is requested 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…”