The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today urged all parties in Syria to respect the civilian status of journalists, following news of the killing of reporter Mohammed al-Asfar in the south of the country.
“I condemn the killing of Mohammed al-Asfar,” the Director-General said. “Media workers in Syria have been paying an unacceptably high price for doing their work. I appeal to all parties in Syria to respect the civilian status of journalists. The right of reporters to carry out their professional duties must be respected in times of war as in times of peace.”
Mohammed al-Asfar was killed while covering fighting in the southern city of Daraa on 26 June.
The 19-year-old cameraman had been working for Al-Jazeera television since March this year.
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.
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…”