UNESCO deplores journalists killing in Sierra Leone as blow to reconstruction

Speaking out yet again in defence of freedom of the press, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the killing of a journalist in Sierra Leone as a potential blow to the reconstruction of the country after years of civil war and anarchy. Harry Yansaneh, editor of For Di People newspaper, died on July 28, apparently following an assault on May by a group of people who are reported to have wanted to evict For Di People from its rented premises and to have been opposed to the newspaper because of its editorial line. He died of kidney problems. The paper has also suffered acts of vandalism. “For Di People has been subject to repeated attacks, the latest of which cost Mr. Yansaneh his life,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement. “I trust that the authorities in Sierra Leone will spare no effort in bringing to trial those responsible for the editor’s death, for the sake of justice, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. “These values, cornerstones of democracy and rule of law, are essential to the reconstruction and development of Sierra Leone, which has suffered from so much violence during the years of civil war,” he added. Mr. Matsuura’s statement was the latest in a long series of condemnations he has issued recently over attacks on journalists around the world. UNESCO’s mandate includes the defence of freedom of expression and press freedom.


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