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UN EXPERT ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION CONCERNED OVER MURDER OF JOURNALIST IN TURKEY

23 January 2007


Ambeyi Ligabo, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, issued the following statement today:


The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Ambeyi Ligabo, expressed his deep concern over the murder of Hrant Dink, a respected journalist and intellectual, known for his critical work on a specific period of the history of Turkey.
In his forthcoming report to the fourth session of the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur stresses that the exercise of freedom of speech should always be guaranteed for the consideration of historical events. Most unfortunately, extreme polarization of views, in conjunction with a perverted sense of national identity, has again inspired the accomplishment of an ominous act, which has curtailed the practicability of debating, in a tolerant and open manner, a subject of wide general interest.
Safety of media workers remains one of the core issues to ensure the full exercise of the right to freedom of expression, a key component of all democratic societies. Governments and state institutions have the primary responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of citizens, including journalists and other media professionals. In this connection, the Special Rapporteur is encouraged by the prompt reaction of the Government of Turkey, and hopes that investigations will shed light on all aspects of this heinous crime.