Director-General condemns death of journalist Majid Dirani in Syria

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has denounced the death of freelance journalist Majid Dirani in a suburb of Damascus.

“I condemn the death of Majid Dirani,” the Director-General said. “I call on all parties to respect international law on the civilian status of journalists in times of war. And I urge media outlets to provide their reporters, including freelancers, with optimal guidance and training on safety.”

Dirani, a freelance photojournalist for the Turkish Anadolu Agency and a contributor to the local Darayya news website, died on 19 February.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the 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…”