UNESCO chief condemns murder of freelance journalist in Indonesia

The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the murder of a freelance journalist named Herliyanto, who had been reporting on local corruption when he was found stabbed to death in Takoran, Indonesia.“This heinous crime must not go unpunished,” Koïchiro Matsuura declared. “I condemn the brutal murder of Herliyanto.”Stressing that violence against journalists represents an attack not just on individuals but on society as a whole, Mr. Matsuura noted that freedom of expression is recognized as a basic right by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “I trust that the Indonesian authorities will spare no efforts in finding the culprits and bringing them to trial,” said the chief of the Paris-based agency.The 40-year old Herliyanto wrote for several publications, including the Delta Pos Tabloid of Sidoarjo and the Visual Tabloid of Jakarta, according to UNESCO. His body was found on 29 April in a forest near the village of Takoran. An autopsy revealed numerous stab wounds. Police ruled out theft as a motive for the crime since the journalist’s personal effects, including his motorcycle, were not stolen. His camera and notebook, however, were reported missing.According to the Alliance of Independent Journalists, Herliyanto in recent articles reported complaints against the head of the village of Tulupari for manipulating a subsidized rice rationing programme. He had also written about fresh water trafficking in another village. Herliyanto was working on other articles about alleged abuses by local authorities when he was killed.Press freedom and freedom of expression are main planks in the mandate of UNESCO, and Mr. Matsuura has issued frequent condemnations of the murder of journalists around the world in recent years.

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