The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of French television reporter Gilles Jacquier, who was shot while on a press visit to the city of Homs on 11 January. Ms Bokova urged the authorities to investigate this killing and ensure safer working conditions for journalists in the country.
“I condemn the killing of Gilles Jacquier,” the Director-General said. “It is essential that the authorities investigate<a name="_GoBack"></a> this serious attack on freedom of expression and freedom of information. The number of people, journalists and non-journalists, killed in Syria is deeply troubling. I call on the authorities to do all in their power to ensure the full exercize of the universally recognized basic human right of freedom of expression and citizens’ access to information.”
Unidentified gunfire killed Gilles Jacquier, a reporter for French public television France 2, along with six Syrian nationals. A Dutch photographer was also severely injured. All were taking part in an official tour to the troubled city of Homs when they were hit.
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…”