Director-General condemns murder of Iraqi journalists Safa Isma’il Enad, Hadi Anawi al-Joubouri and Abdel Karim al-RubaiThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of three Iraqi journalists in separate attacks over recent days and called for urgent measures to improve the safety of media workers in Iraq.
“I condemn the murder of photographer Safa Isma’il Enad, reporter Anawi al-Joubouri, and editor Abdel Karim al-Rubai,” the Director-General said. “It is chilling to see the heavy toll paid in Iraq by journalists, editors and other media professionals killed for exercising the basic human right of freedom of expression. Their murderers are not serving the interests of the people of Iraq by undermining the development of democracy and rule of law.
“It is vital for the sake of Iraqi society as a whole that the criminals who use violence to silence journalists be brought to justice and that all possible measures be taken to ensure the safety of media workers in Iraq,” concluded Mr Matsuura.
Safa Isma’il Enad, 31, a freelance photographer, was shot on 12 September by two gunmen in a photo print shop in Baghdad.
Hadi Anawi al-Joubouri, 56, a journalist and representative of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate in the eastern province of Diyala, was killed in an ambush on 12 September about 200 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. The Vice-Chairman of the syndicate, Jabbar Tarrad Al-Shimmari, and former Chairman Abdullah Al-Lami, earlier that day survived an assassination attempt in Baghdad.
Abdel Karim al-Rubai, 40, an editor for the daily newspaper Al-Sabah, was shot on his way to work in Baghdad on 9 September. His driver was seriously injured.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that 79 journalists and 28 media support workers have been killed in Iraq since March 20, 2003, making it the deadliest conflict for the profession in the past 25years. Murder accounts for 64 percent of work-related deaths among journalists and media support workers in Iraq, with crossfire and combat-related deaths accounting for the rest, according to the CPJ.
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…”