United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Director-General condemns assassination of Palestinian journalist Khalil Al-Zaben

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the assassination in Gaza, on the night of March 1 to 2, of journalist Khalil al-Zaben, publisher of a magazine - An-Nashra - funded by the Palestinian Authority, and an advisor to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

“The assassination of Khalil al-Zaben, must be condemned,” the Director-General said, “and action taken to find and prosecute its perpetrators, in keeping with the resolution adopted by UNESCO’s Member States in 1997 which calls for an end to impunity for crimes against journalists.”

Commenting the shooting of Mr al-Zaben, Mr Matsuura said, “this crime comes amidst a rise in the number of attacks on Palestinian journalists which must be stopped, if Palestinian society is to lay a sound foundation for its future.”

“I cannot overstate the fact that freedom of expression is an essential component of democracy,” the Director-General declared. “This is why UNESCO supports the right of all journalists to carry their work, even in conflict situations.” Mr Matsuura concluded.

International nongovernmental organizations have reported a serious rise in the number of acts of violence against the Palestinian media and have called for measures to improve the safety of reporters.

Source Press Release No 2004 - 18
Generic Field
Publication Date 05 Mar 2004
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