The Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova today denounced the killing of Syrian TV reporter Haidar al-Sumudi and urged all sides involved in the conflict to respect the civilian status of journalists.
“I am appalled by the killing of Haidar al-Sumudi and the continuing attacks on journalists in Syria,” the Director-General said. “Freedom of expression is a basic human right and there can be no justification for the use of violence to suppress it. All sides must recognize the civilian status of journalists and allow them to do their work.”
State television reported on 22 December that one of its camera reporters, Haidar al-Sumudi, had been shot the previous evening outside his home in Damascus.
Haidar al-Sumudi’s death brings to 41 the total number of professional and citizen journalists killed in Syria in 2012. They are remembered on the dedicated web page, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.
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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…”