Director-General condemns murder of Syrian journalist Zaher al-Shurqat

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has condemned the killing of Syrian journalist Zaher al-Shurqat in the city of Gaziantep in the south of Turkey. The journalist was shot on 10 April and died from his injuries two days later.

“I condemn the murder of Zaher al-Shurqat,” declared the Director-General. “It is essential that journalists covering conflict areas be able to do their work without fearing for their lives. I call on all parties to the conflict in Syria to respect the civilian status of journalists in keeping with the Geneva Conventions.”

Zaher al-Shurqat worked for the online broadcaster Aleppo Today for whom he notably presented the Lines of Fire programme that covered the conflict in Syria, with a focus on Aleppo. An unidentified assailant shot him while he was in a street of Gaziantep on foot.

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.

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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…”