UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has denounced the assassination of television journalist Raad Al Azawi by extremists near Tikrit earlier this month.
“I strongly condemn this killing,” the Director-General said. “Raad Al Azawi was a dedicated professional, recording and informing people of the events unfolding in the region. In any society, this is a vital function. In times of conflict, when populations are under threat and living in a permanent state of uncertainty, it becomes a critical one.
“Citizens have a right to information and the media must be allowed to provide it. Journalists and media workers must be allowed to carry out their duties without fearing for their lives,” Ms Bokova added.
Raad Al Azawi, who worked for the local Sama Salaheddin television news channel, was killed in public by a radical extremists group, along with his brother and two other civilians, in the village of Samra, east of the city of Tikrit on 10 October. He had been held by the extremists for one month and was killed after refusing to work for them.
The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media professionals 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…”