Director-General condemns murder of two Iraqi media professionals: Raad Jaafar Hamadi and Fadhila AbdelkarimThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of Iraqi print journalist Raad Jaafar Hamadi and of Fadhila Abdelkarim, an administrative staff worker of TV station Nainawa.
“I condemn the murder of Raad Jaafar Hamadi and Fadhila Abdelkarim,” the Director-General declared. “The shocking number of media professionals killed in Iraq continues to grow week after week and since January more than 35 journalists have paid with their lives for their determination to fulfil their mission. I am truly impressed by the courage of Iraqi journalists willing to face such danger and I call on the authorities, once again, to do all they can to provide them with better protection.”
Raad Jaafar Hamadi, a journalist with the daily Al Sabah, was shot dead in his car in the east of Baghdad on 22 November. Fadhila Abdelkarim was shot outside her home in Mosul on 26 November.
According to Reporters without Borders, a total of 137 journalists and media assistants have been killed in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003, while 51 have been kidnapped. Four of the kidnap victims are still being held hostage, according to RSF.
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…”