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Director-General condemns death of Somali journalists Abdirisak Warsameh Mohamed and Nur Muse Hussein

29-05-2009 (Paris)
Director-General condemns death of Somali journalists Abdirisak Warsameh Mohamed and Nur Muse Hussein
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the death of two Somali journalists, Abdirisak Warsameh Mohamed, shot on a street in Mogadiscio on 22 May, and Nur Muse Hussein, who died this week of injuries sustained in April when he was shot in the town of Beledweyne.
“I condemn the attacks which have taken the lives of Nur Muse Hussein and Abdirisak Warsameh Mohamed,” declared the Director-General. “Few places are as dangerous for journalists as Somalia, which is prey to unending conflicts,” he added. “Dedicated professionals such as Nur Muse Hussein and Abdirisak Warsameh Mohamed nevertheless continue doing their job to ensure that we are kept informed. It is our right to freedom of information that these brave journalists risk their lives to defend.”

Veteran Somali reporter, Nur Muse Hussein, 56, was covering the fighting between the provincial authorities and the Hisbul Islam movement for Voice of the Holy Quran radio. He was targeted along with three colleagues despite the fact that they were identified as journalists. Seriously hit in the leg, Nur Muse Hussein died this week.

Abdirisak Warsameh Mohamed of Radio Shabelle was killed when he was hit by several bullets in the chest on 22 May in Mogadiscio, in a street near the Bakara Market, fiefdom of a Moslem militia organization. It is impossible to know whether the journalist was singled out to be killed considering the intensity of the fighting in the area and the large number of civilians hit.

According to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), four reporters have been killed in Somalia since January. Moreover, two freelance journalists Amanda Lindhout of Canada and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan, abducted last August near Mogadiscio, are still held by their kidnappers who are demanding a ransom.

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

      · Somalia
      · Press Freedom: News Archives 2009
      · UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists: News Archives 2009
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