Director-general voices utmost concern over press freedom in the Autonomous Palestinian territoriesParis - Recalling that is at the helm of an organization mandated to defend “the free flow of information without any obstacle to freedom of expression”, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today stressed his grave concern over restrictions imposedon journalists in the exercise of their profession in several Palestinian towns.
He also voiced great concern over the increase in the number of incidents journalists are prey to while covering events in the Autonomous Palestinian Territories.
Mr Matsuura recalled that “‘journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians’, under Article 79 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Convention.”
The Director-General went on to point out that “Israel, as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, must respect the instrument which enshrines, in Article 19, the ‘right to freedom of expression’ and states that ‘this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds’.”
He said: “I solemnly call on Israel to respect scrupulously this right which is also enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.”
The Director-General concluded by stressing: “Everywhere in the world, and in all circumstance, freedom of expression and press freedom are basic rights. There can be no justification to slighting them.”