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Director-General condemns murder of cameraman Saif Fakhri in Baghdad

13-06-2007 (Paris)
Director-General condemns murder of cameraman Saif Fakhri in Baghdad
Stop killing journalists
© Derstandard
Saif Fakhri was killed on 1 June on his way to a mosque close to his home.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, condemned the murder of the Associated Press Television News (APTN) cameraman Saif Fakhri, who was shot dead on 1 June near his home.

“I condemn the murder of Saif Fakhri,” declared the Director-General. “His name is now added to the terrifyingly long list of journalists, media technicians, drivers, guards and others who have fallen in Iraq in the name of freedom of expression. It is thanks to these courageous men and women that we continue to be informed about this country. We must pay homage to them, but we must also do everything we can to support media professionals in their unrelenting battle against those who want neither freedom nor democracy for the Iraqi people. Once again I urge the international and Iraqi authorities to do their utmost to ensure better protection for the media and the people who work for them.”

Saif Fakhri was killed on 1 June on his way to a mosque close to his home. He is the fifth employee of the North American press agency to be killed in Iraq.

The day before the murder of the APTN cameraman, the Iraqi press lost another of its members: Khalil Youssef Ahmad, age 55, father of Ms Doha Al-Haddad, economic journalist of the Al-Arabiya channel, was abducted and executed on 31 May. According to Reporters without Borders (RSF), an NGO, Ms Al-Haddad received a call on her mobile phone ordering her to give up her professional activity.

According to RSF, at least 182 journalists and media personnel have been killed in Iraq since the start of the conflict in March 2003. In addition, the fate of 14 media professionals abducted in the country is unknown.

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

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