Director-General condemns murder of Iraqi TV reporter Muhammad al-BanThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing of TV reporter and cameraman Muhammad al-Ban in Mosul, in northern Iraq.
“I condemn the murder of Muhammad al-Ban,” the Director-General said. “It is appalling that yet another dedicated Iraqi journalist has had to pay with his life for the basic human right of freedom of expression and for the fundamental democratic freedom of the people of Iraq to be kept informed of events that concern them. It is essential for the reconstruction of Iraq and for the country’s return to rule of law that a halt be brought to the outrageous campaign of bloodshed waged against journalists and other media professionals,” Mr Matsuura said.
Muhammad al-Ban, 58, a reporter and cameraman for the privately owned Al-Sharqiya TV, was shot by unidentified gunmen as he was leaving his home in Mosul on 13 November. His wife was also wounded in the attack, according to the Associated Press news agency. Mr Al-Ban is the second Al-Sharqiya journalist killed this month. Correspondent Ahmad al-Rashid, 28, was shot in Baghdad on November 3, according to the Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ).
The CPJ says that 86 journalists and 37 media support workers have been killed in direct relation to their work in Iraq since March, 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 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…”