UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today deplored the death of radio journalist Muwaffak al-Ani, who was killed in an explosion in west Baghdad on Monday 6 May.
“I am saddened and deeply concerned to hear of the murder of Muwaffak al-Ani,” said the Director-General. “He was one of Iraq’s best known media voices; a man dedicated to his profession and determined to pass his knowledge and skills to a new generation of journalists. He will be sorely missed, in a country emerging from many years of conflict and trying to rebuild itself.
“In such situations, the media has a special role to play. Journalists must be allowed to work in safety - to fulfill their duty of informing the public, and to uphold the right of freedom of expression. Impunity for crimes against them must not be tolerated, and I trust the Iraqi authorities will do everything within their power to bring those responsible for this attack, which also claimed several other lives, to justice.”
Muwaffak al-Ani was one of Iraq’s longest-serving broadcasters. He began his career in radio and television in 1962 at Radio Baghdad and had worked for several of the country’s major networks since then. He also taught radio journalism.
According to media reports he was killed, along with his brother and several others, when a bomb exploded outside the Mansour Mosque in west Baghdad during evening prayer on Monday.
Muwaffak al-Ani is the third journalist killed in Iraq over the past 12 months. He is remembered on the dedicated web page 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…”