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Communication and Information Sector's news service

Director-General condemns killing of journalists in Iraq

11-06-2007 (Paris)
Director-General condemns killing of journalists in Iraq
Stop killing journalists
© Derstandard
The Director-General of UNESCO voiced grave concern over the "alarming increase" in the number of journalists murdered in Iraq in recent days.
"I condemn the assassination of, Aidan Abdallah Al-Jamiji, Mahmud Hassib Al-Kassab, Abdel-Rahman Al-Issawi, and Nizar Al-Radhi," the Director-General said. "The only crime committed by these journalists is that they had the courage to exercise the basic human right of freedom of expression. I wish pay tribute to these dedicated professionals whose work is essential for the reconstruction of Iraq as a democracy. I denounce the killers whose heinous crimes are undermining the whole of Iraqi society. In view of the alarming increase in the number of journalists and media professionals slaughtered in Iraq recently, I can but call, once again, on the Iraqi and international authorities to do all they can to stop these killings."

According to Reporters without Borders, the body of Aidan Abdallah Al-Jamiji, head of Kirkuk television's Turkmen-language section, was found on 26 May in the boot of his car, which had been torched and dumped near the cemetery in Kirkuk, 250 km north of Baghdad.

Also in Kirkuk, Mahmud Hassib Al-Kassab, editor of the weekly Al-Hawadith and a member of Inkad Al-Turkman (the Turkmen Salvation Movement), was gunned down outside his home on 28 May.

Abdel-Rahman Al-Issawi, 34, a journalism professor at Baghdad university and contributor to several newspapers, was killed along with seven members of his family (including his wife, son, father and mother) when gunmen stormed his home in Amariyah, near Fallujah, on 29 May.

Nizar Al-Radhi, 38, an employee of the independent news agency Aswat Al-Irak (Voices of Iraq) and correspondent of Radio Free Iraq, was fatally shot and several of his colleagues were wounded on 30 May when three gunmen in a pickup opened fire on a group of journalists in Amara (365 km south of Baghdad).

According to the Committee to Project Journalists, at least 104 journalists and 39 other media workers have been killed in Iraq over the past four years.

UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”
Related themes/countries

      · Towards democracy in Iraq
      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2007
      · Press Freedom: News Archives 2007
      · Iraq: News Archives 2007
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