The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today deplored the shooting of journalist Mohamud Ali Keyre in Mogadishu earlier this month and called for measures to improve the safety of media personnel in Somalia.
“I am appalled by news of the violent death of Mohamud Ali Keyre,” the Director-General said. “It is essential that the authorities do all in their power to stem the violence that is claiming so many civilian lives in Somalia, including a shocking number of media workers. Journalists must be able to keep the public informed without fearing for their lives. A free and independent press is an essential contribution to dialogue and national reconciliation in Somalia. It is also necessary for democracy and rule of law.”
Mohamud Ali Keyre was killed on 12 August by a bullet shot to his head. The 23-year old journalist wrote for the website horyaalmedia.com. Previously, he had worked as a Mogadishu-based radio broadcaster for Voice of Democracy, but had to flee to Kenya because of threats to his life. Media reports say that he recently returned to Mogadishu after deciding that the security situation in the Somali capital had improved.
A total of 18 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 2009. They are remembered on the dedicated site 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…”