The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today voiced concern over the killing of two Pakistani journalists in separate incidents: Mehmood Jan Afridi on 1 March and Malik Mumtaz on 27 February.
“I am deeply concerned over the killing of Mehmood Jan Afridi and Malik Mumtaz,” the Director-General said. “Measures must be taken to improve the safety of journalists in Pakistan for the sake of press freedom and freedom of expression, which are essential for democracy and rule of law. I trust that these murders will be investigated thoroughly and that their culprits will be brought to trial.”
Mehmood Jan Afridi was gunned down in the city of Kalat in Baluchistan where he worked for the Urdu language newspaper The Daily Intekhab. According to the Associated Press, Afridi had received threatening phone calls.
Malik Mumtaz was shot dead as he was driving to his home in Miran Shah, the main city of North Waziristan. He worked for Geo News television, Jang Online News and the daily paper News International in both English and Urdu. Numtaz is reported to have received threats connected to his reporting in the past.
Five journalists have been killed in Pakistan since the start of 2012. They are remembered in UNESCO’s dedicated web page, UNESCO Condemns the Killing of Journalists.
UNESCO, and press freedom organizations including Intermedia Pakistan, International Media Support, and the Open Society Foundations is organizing an international conference on the safety and security of journalists in Islamabad from 6 to 7 March. The conference is programmed within the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
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…”