Director-General condemns the murder of journalist and photographer Martin Adler in MogadishuThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing of Martin Adler, a Swedish journalist working for British television broadcaster Channel 4 and for the Swedish daily Aftonbladet, in the Somali capital, Mogadishu on 23 June.
“I condemn the murder of Martin Adler,” the Director-General said. “This despicable act was brought unusually close to millions of us as we witnessed it on our television screens, giving us a sad and direct view of the killings that have been cutting short the lives of so many media workers in all parts of the world.”
Mr Matsuura added: “Mr Adler, a brave and distinguished professional, died while exercising the inalienable human right of freedom of expression. I urge the Transitional Government of Somalia and the country's Islamic Courts Union to identify and bring to justice the killers of Mr Adler. By so doing, they will give a strong signal to the people of Somalia about the standards of governance and respect for human rights they intend to implement in the aftermath of civil war.”
Martin Adler, an award-winning television reporter and photographer, was shot at close range by an unidentified gunman while filming a demonstration organized by the Islamic Courts Union. He is the third journalist to be killed in Somalia since January 2005 when Kate Peyton of the BBC was murdered. Local radio journalist Duniya Muhyadin Nur was shot dead six months later.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 13 other journalists have been killed in Somalia because of their work since the fall of President former Siad Barre in 1991.
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…”