The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today deplored the unsafe conditions that journalists and media workers face in Iraq. UNESCO has now confirmed, in addition to killings that the Director-general had previously condemned, the killings of the following seven media professionals within the country over the last two years.
In 2014, Kamran Najm Ibrahim, Khalid Ali Hamada, and Fadel al-Hadidi lost their lives. Last year saw the killings of Firas al-Baher (also known as Firas Al-Bahri), Majed Al Rabi’i (also known as Majid Al Rabi'i), Ghazi Al-Obeidi, and Yahya Abd Hamad.
“I condemn these killings and deplore this unsafe environment where media fear for their lives,” declared the Director-General. “Violence and attacks must not be allowed to curb freedom of expression and information.”
Kamran Najm Ibrahim, a freelance photographer, was shot on 12 June 2014. Cameraman for Al-Ahad TV Khalid Ali Hamada lost his life on 15 June 2014. After three weeks of being held hostage, writer and columnist Fadel Al-Hadidi was shot on 15 July 2014.
Firas al-Baher (also known as Firas Al-Bahri), a producer and technician for the TV channel Nineveh al-Ghad, was killed in May 2015, one month after he had been abducted. TV journalist for Al-Masar TV Majed Al Rabi’i (also known as Majid Al Rabi'i) died on 6 May 2015 from injuries sustained while reporting on military operations. On 5 August 2015, journalist and writer Ghazi Al-Obeidi was murdered. Yahya Abd Hamad, director of Radio Rasheed, was killed on 12 September, 2015 after being abducted.
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…”