Director-General condemns killing of Libyan journalist and activist Tawfiq Faraj Ben Saud

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today denounced the killing of journalist and human rights activist Tawfiq Faraj Ben Saud, who was shot dead in Benghazi, Libya, on 19 September.

“Tawfiq Faraj Ben Saud was only 18 years old, and already deeply committed to both his profession and defending the rights of his fellow citizens,” the Director-General said. “I firmly condemn the killing of this young man, and call on the authorities to do their utmost to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“His death robs the Libyan people – and especially Libyan youth – of someone dedicated to keeping people informed in difficult times, an ardent defender of human rights, including freedom of expression, and someone engaged in building a better future for his country.”

Tawfiq Faraj Ben Saud was fatally wounded when gunmen opened fire on his car as he was driving home with friends, one of whom was also killed in the attack.

The young journalist presented  a programme called "Ishah bi Jawuha” (Live your Life) on Lyniana Hits, a privately-owned radio station. He was also one of the founders of a local human rights organization, Al-Rahma (Mercy Foundation).

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…”