Director-General condemns murder of Iraqi journalists Saif Talal and Hassan al-Anbaki

Paris, 15 January—The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today denounced the killing of television reporter Saif Talal and cameraman Hassan al-Anbaki near Baquba, the capital of Iraq’s Diyala province on 12 January.

“I condemn the murder of Saif Talal and Hassan al-Anbaki,” the Director-General said. “Using violence to silence journalists undermines the free flow of information and the basic human right of freedom of expression, as well as media workers’ ability to carry out their professional duties. I call on the authorities to investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to justice.”

Saif Talal and Hassan al-Anbaki were on assignment for independent television broadcaster Al-Sharqiya, when unidentified gunmen shot them.

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,  +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…”