Senior UN official urges action amid rise in violence against Honduran press

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), condemned the murder of Israel Zelaya Diaz, a reporter for Radio Internacional in San Pedro Sula, the country’s second largest city.The 62-year-old radio journalist, known as Zagatay, reported on a variety of local topics, including politics and crime. He was found shot to death on the edge of a sugarcane field near the city on 24 August. He is the ninth journalist killed in Honduras this year, according to Reporters Without Borders and the International Press Institute.“It is vital that this crime be investigated thoroughly, just as every effort should be made to end the violence and intimidation targeting journalists in Honduras,” Ms. Bokova stated in a news release.“It is the duty of the authorities to see that the basic human right of freedom of expression is recognized.”Ms. Bokova has also condemned the 11 August murder of Magomedvagif (Sultan) Sultanmagomedov, the editor-in-chief of the television station Makhachkala-TV in the Russian republic of Dagestan.Mr. Sultanmagomedov, who had escaped a previous attempt on his life in 2008, died of gunshot wounds after the car he was travelling in came under submachine-gun fire in central Makhachkala.“The killing of a journalist constitutes an attack against freedom of expression, a fundamental human right. Furthermore, it is an attack on our freedom as citizens to be informed and to participate in the democratic process. “I call on authorities to do their utmost to ensure that the ongoing investigation solves this crime,” said Ms. Bokova.Mr. Sultanmagomedov took over as Makhachkala-TV editor after his predecessor, Abdullah Alishayev, was shot and killed in September 2008. The murder follows those last May near Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, of Shamil Aliyev, head of radio stations and a television network, and Sayid Ibragimov, director of a local television channel, as well as four technicians who had gone to the site of a sabotaged television relay station. 30 August 2010The recent murder of a radio journalist in Honduras brings to nine the number of media professionals killed there so far this year, and prompted a senior United Nations official to call for urgent action to stem the rise in violence against members of the press. read more

MH370 families protest as pilot suicide raised as a cause of plane

first_imgIRATE CHINESE RELATIVES of passengers aboard the crashed Flight MH370 scuffled with security personnel outside Malaysia’s embassy last night, demanding answers about the plane’s mysterious and lonely demise in the stormy Indian Ocean.Malaysia — decried as “murderers” by the Beijing protesters — defended its decision to release new analysis of satellite data that determined the plane had plunged into the southern seas far off western Australia.Gale-force winds and huge waves halted the ocean search for wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines plane, deferring relatives’ quest to attain closure with definitive physical proof of the plane’s destruction and the loss of its 239 passengers and crew.Mark Binskin, vice chief of Australia’s Defence Force, underscored the dangers from the weather — as well as the enormous size of area under inspection by aircrews using a mix of high technology and binoculars to scan the waves.“We’re not trying to find a needle in a haystack, we’re still trying to define where the haystack is,” he told reporters.The Boeing 777 went missing on March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, dropping off air traffic control screens in what has become one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history.PA Graphics/Press Association ImagesAustralia pledges welcome Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said they would be warmly welcomed in their “desperately difficult time” should they make the trip. Australia will facilitate travel for Chinese relatives by waiving its standard visa fees, officials said.Numerous sightings of suspected debris, by satellites as well as aircraft criss-crossing the southern Indian Ocean, had raised hopes that wreckage would be found. But none has been retrieved yet.The US Navy has sent a specialised device to help find the “black box” of flight and cockpit voice data, along with a robotic underwater vehicle that can scan the ocean’s depths.Those efforts will be crucial in determining what caused the Boeing 777 to deviate inexplicably off course and fly thousands of miles in the wrong direction.Malaysia believes the plane was deliberately diverted by someone on board. But the lack of evidence has fuelled intense speculation and tormented families.“Terrorism, pilot suicide and a complex set of mechanical failures never seen before are now the likely possibilities. A simple failure such as a simple fire or structural failure is becoming very unlikely,” said aviation consultant Gerry Soejatman. © AFP, 2014Read: Malaysia Airline sends text message to MH370 familiesRead: Malaysian PM confirms that flight MH370 went down in the Indian Ocean west of Perthlast_img read more