UNESCO chief condemns murder of Uzbek journalist in Kyrgyzstan

29 October 2007 – The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which works to promote press freedom globally, today condemned the recent murder of Uzbek journalist Alisher Saipov in Kyrgyzstan.

“The use of violence to silence a journalist is unacceptable, it runs counter to the basic human right of freedom of expression and tramples the democratic right of people to engage in free and informed debate,” Koïchiro Matsuura.

The 26-year old victim was killed in the Kyrgyz city of Osh , near the Uzbek border, on 24 October. He was shot three times at close range by an unknown assailant who is reported to have used a silencer, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Mr. Saipov was the editor of independent Uzbek-language weekly Siyosat. He reported on Uzbekistan's political and social issues for Radio Free Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America, and the Central Asia news website Ferghana.

“Shedding more blood is not going to solve the issues besetting Uzbek society,” Mr. Matsuura said.

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