Director-General deplores killing of Iraqi journalist Ali Al-Ansari

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today voiced deep concern over the killing of television journalist Ali Al-Ansari in Diyala Governorate, northeast of Baghdad on 23 January.

<h1>“I deplore the killing of Ali Al-Ansari, who died in the line of duty while covering fighting in the north of Iraq,” the Director-General said. “I am deeply concerned about the loss of so many journalists reporting on the conflict in the country. The high death toll among reporters is severely curtailing the ability of the media to provide the public with critical information.” </h1> <h1>Ali Al-Ansari, a reporter for the Iraqi Al-Ghadeer television channel, was killed while covering an operation by Iraqi Security Forces against extremist groups. The Iraqi Journalists Syndicate recently honoured Al-Ansari for his courage in reporting on the conflict.</h1>

UNESCO advocates for the better protection of journalists working in dangerous environments and works to sensitize media organizations on the need to prepare journalists for the dangers of war reporting. A book on the subject can be downloaded free of charge at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001869/186986e.pdf.

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…”