UNESCO Director-General condemns killing of Iraqi journalist Alaa HassanThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing of Iraqi journalist Alaa Hassan and stressed once again the need to improve journalists’ security in the country.
“I condemn the killing of Alaa Hassan,” said Mr Matsuura. “Murders are part of the tragic daily reality of Iraq today, and journalists have to confront this reality more than any other profession. To continue to do their job of informing the public without restriction, they are permanently exposed to the violence that has become so horrifyingly commonplace. We salute their courage, but we must also do the utmost to improve their security, as the work of journalists is essential to bring democracy back to a country that has endured decades of oppression and violence.”
Mr Hassan worked for Inter Press Service (IPS). He was shot down on his way to work.
According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), 131 journalists and other media staff have been killed in Iraq since the war began in 2003.
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…”