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UNESCO DEPLORES THE DEATH AND INJURY OF JOURNALISTS IN THE LINE OF DUTY IN CAMBODIA

Paris, April 3 {No. 97-53} - UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor today deplored the death of Cambodian journalist Chet Duong Daravuth and the injury of at least 16 other reporters in a grenade attack on a political rally outside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, March 30.

Mr Mayor declared: I deplore the death of Chet Duong Daravuth and the injuries sustained by his colleagues in the exercise of their profession. UNESCO upholds freedom and pluralism of information to be essential conditions for democracy. We condemn the use of violence to political ends, especially when it seeks to muzzle freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed.

Mr Daravuth was covering the rally for the new Cambodian daily Samrek Chheam Neak Sneah Chealh when four hand grenades were hurled at the crowd. Several of the journalists who were injured while recording a speech had studied at the Cambodian Institute of Communication. The Institute, a project of UNESCO, DANIDA (Danish International Development Agency) and France, was set up in 1994 to promote press freedom and pluralism.

Among those injured were also members of the international press, including Zhu Changda, Chief Correspondent for the Chinese news agency Xinhua, whose condition was reported to be serious but stable. According to press reports, 15 other people died in the grenade attack and over one hundred were injured.

In his statement, Mr. Mayor also extended his condolences to the families of the victims.

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