UNESCO.ORG | Education | Natural Sciences | Social & Human Sciences | Culture | Communication & Information


graphic element 1

Communication and Information Resources

graphic element 2


Communication and Information Sector's news service

Director-General condemns killing of Iraqi journalist Alaa Abdel-Wehab and calls for improved safety for media workers in the country

09-06-2009 (Paris)
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing of Iraqi sports journalist Alaa Abdel-Wehab on 31 May and called for measures to improve the safety of media workers in Iraq.
I condemn the murder of Alaa Abdel-Wehab,” the Director-General said. “I must pay tribute to the unflagging courage of journalists who continue working in Iraq despite the senseless killing of media professionals that has been going on for all too long in the country. Efforts to ensure their safety clearly need to be stepped up, so as to support the right of all Iraqis to be informed about events in their country and make informed democratic choices.”

“I also wish to voice concern over the condition of Sultan Jerjis who was injured in the attack that left Alaa Abdel Wahad dead,” Mr Matsuura added. “I am equally worried about the condition of journalist Hameed Yousif and his colleague of the Al-Iraqiya TV channel, both of whom were injured in a separate attack. I wish them all a full and speedy recovery.”

Alaa Abdel Wehab, 37, was a correspondent for the independent Iraqi television channel Al-Baghdadia, which is based in Cairo, Egypt. He was killed by a bomb placed in his car in the city of Mosul, in northern Iraq. Alaa Abdel Wehab was in Mosul to work on a story about the local Olympic Committee. He is the third journalist to be killed in Iraq this year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Sultan Jerjis, a sports presenter with local radio station Al-Rasheed, was injured in the same attack. Also on 31 May, two employees of the state-run Al-Iraqiya television station were severely wounded when a bomb attached to their car exploded in the Al-A’zamiya district of Baghdad. One of the wounded was identified as sound engineer Hameed Yousif, while the name of the second has not been released.

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

      · Press Freedom
      · Iraq
      · UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists: News Archives 2009
Share this story:
  • co.mments
  • del.icio.us
  • digg
  • Furl
  • Ma.gnolia
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • Shadows
  • Simpy
  • YahooMyWeb