The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today voiced concern for the safety of media workers in Libya following the recent killing of two journalists, Moatasem Billah Werfali, and Tayeb Issa Hamouda.
“I condemn the killing of Moatasem Billah Werfali, and Tayeb Issa Hamouda,” the Director-General said. “It is alarming to see journalists lose their lives because they provide people with the information they need and are entitled to receive. In times of insecurity, the public’s need for information becomes absolutely crucial and the safety of journalists must be treated as a priority in all efforts to restore stability and the rule of law to Libya.”
Moatasem Billah Werfali, a freelance journalist and presenter for Libya Alwatan radio, was shot dead in Benghazi on 8 October. Three days earlier, Tayeb Issa Hamouda, was killed in Ubari, in the south of the country. He was one of the founders of the Touareg cultural television channel Tomast.
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…”