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Communication and Information Sector's news service

Director-General condemns murder of Iraqi journalist Hamed Abd Farhan

03-07-2007 (Paris)
Director-General condemns murder of Iraqi journalist Hamed Abd Farhan
Stop killing journalists
© Derstandard
Hamed Abd Farhan was shot to death on 26 June in south Baghdad.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, condemned the murder of Iraqi journalist Hamed Abd Farhan, shot to death on 26 June in south Baghdad, and expressed his deep concern about other recent deaths by violence in the ranks of Iraqi media professionals.

“I condemn the murder of Hamed Abd Farhan,” declared the Director-General. “This Iraqi press veteran was murdered only a few days after the deaths of Alef Ali Falih and Rahim Al-Maliki, killed in separate bombings. Violence against journalists in Iraq has reached terrifying proportions. No words are strong enough to condemn these recurring crimes, targeting courageous professionals striving to uphold the fundamental human right of free expression, and its corollary, press freedom. It is crucial for the construction of democracy in Iraq that authorities do everything in their power to reinforce security for media professionals.”

Hamed Abd Farhan, 57, worked for a number of Iraqi newspapers and magazines, as well as for the private agency Irakioun. He had previously spent 30 years on the staff of the Iraqi press agency. He was gunned down in his car in Al-Sidiya, in the southern part of Baghdad.

Alef Ali Falih, 32, correspondent for the independent press agency Aswat al-Iraq (The Voice of Iraq) died in a terrorist bombing that killed several people on 11 June in Al-Khalis, 55 km north of Baghdad. Poet and journalist Rahim al-Maliki, 39, host of cultural programmes on Al-Iraqiya, was one of the victims of the suicide bombing against the Hotel Milia-Mansour in Baghdad on 25 June.

According to Reporters without Borders, 36 media professionals have lost their lives in Iraq since 1 January 2007.

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

      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2007
      · Press Freedom: News Archives 2007
      · Iraq: News Archives 2007
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