The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today denounced the murder of Syrian internet and video journalist Naji Jerf on 27 December. He was killed in Turkey. Ms Bokova also denounced the killing of Syrian journalists Zakaria Ibrahim and Batoul Mokhles al-Warrar, whose deaths earlier in December and in November 2015 were only recently confirmed.
“I condemn the killing of Naji Jerf, Zakaria Ibrahim and Batoul Mokhles al-Warrar,” the Director-General said. “I trust that the investigation of the murder of Naji Jerf will bear fruit and that those responsible for this crime will face trial.
“In keeping with the Geneva Conventions, journalists must be treated as civilians in times of conflict and those targeting journalists like Zakaria Ibrahim and Batoul Mokhles al-Warrar will have to face justice in Syria,” Ms Bokova added.
Jerf was the founder and editor-in-chief of Hentah an online news site that denounced human rights abuses in Syria. He also made several documentary films on the Syrian conflict. He was based in Turkey since late 2012.
Zakaria Ibrahim died on 1 December, 2015 in the town of Taldou, in the Syrian province of Homs, where he was filming armed fighting for Al-Jazeera television.
Batoul Mokhles al-Warrar, a reporter for Noor al-Sham TV channel and Radio Damascus, was killed in mortar fire in Damascus on 3 November.
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…”