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Communication and Information Sector's news service

Director-General condemns killing of five Iraqi journalists this week

18-10-2007 (Paris)
Director-General condemns killing of five Iraqi journalists this week
Stop killing journalists
© Derstandard
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing in Iraq of Salih Saif Aldin, a reporter for the Washington Post newspaper, and of three Al Watan reporters: Jasim and Mohamed Nofaan, Zeyard Tariq; and freelance journalist Dhi Abdul-Razak al-Dibo.
“I condemn the killings of Salih Saif Aldin, Jasim and Mohamed Nofaan, Zeyard Tariq, and Dhi Abdul-Razak al-Dibo,” said the Director-General. “The apparently systematic targeting of journalists in Iraq, shows how disturbing it is for the war mongers to see their crimes exposed. This in turn highlights how important free and independent reporting is for the restoration of peace and democracy in Iraq.”

“I must, once again,” Mr Matsuura added, “pay tribute to the men and women, most of them Iraqi nationals, who show such indomitable courage in the face of danger and carry on with their important professional work.”

All of the latest media victims of violence in Iraq were Iraqi nationals. Salih Saif Aldin was shot at close range while photographing fire-damaged houses in a street in Baghdad on 14 October. On the same day, Jasim and Mohamed Nofaan and Zeyard Tariq were murdered on the road to Kirkuk. Dhi Abdul-Razak al-Dibo was ambushed and killed near the city of Kirku north of Baghdad on 15 October. None of the gunmen involved in these crimes have been identified.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the new killings bring to at least 54 the number of journalists and media assistants assassinated in Iraq since the start of the year. The International Federation of Journalists numbers a total of 234 media killings in the country since 2003.

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 purpose the Organization is required 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
      · UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists: News Archives 2007
      · Iraq: News Archives 2007
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