Director-General urges safer conditions for media workers following confirmation of the death of two Syrian journalists

13 December 2016

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of two journalists in Syria following confirmation of their death in separate incidents: Mohammed Sayyed Hassan, in August 2016, and Abdullah Mohammad Ghannam in July 2016.

“I condemn the killings of Mohammed Sayyed Hassan, and Abdullah Mohammad Ghannam,” said the Director-General. “Journalists working in a conflict situation must be treated as civilians, in keeping with the Geneva Conventions. I must therefore once again call on all to respect the imperative need to protect the safety of journalists under all circumstances.”

Mohammed Sayyed Hassan died on 1 August from injuries sustained a week earlier in airstrikes on Atareb. He was the founder of the Al-Nabaa Media Center and reported for several local news outlets, including the online portal All4Syria.

Abdullah Mohammad Ghannam was killed in an airstrike on Kafr Hamra, where he was on assignment. He was a reporter for the independent online Shahba Press Agency, of which he was a co-founder.

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,, +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…”