Director-General condemns killing of Syrian journalist Ayham Mostafa Ghazzoul

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today expressed grave concern about recent news that Syrian journalist Ayham Mostafa Ghazzoul died in detention on 9 November 2012. According to international freedom of expression organizations, Ghazzoul died from injuries sustained under torture.

<h2>            “I am deeply concerned by the death of Ayham Mostafa Ghazzoul,” the Director-General said.  “It is important that light be shed on the circumstances of this tragic incident and that all parties to the conflict taking place in Syria respect the civilian status of all journalists and their right to freedom of expression.”</h2> <h2>            Ayham Mostafa Ghazzoul, 26, was a contributor to the Damascus-based Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression. The post-graduate student died at the air force intelligence headquarters, four days after his arrest.</h2>

            Since the start of the fighting in Syria in 2011, the Director-General has condemned the killing of 46 citizen and professional journalists, including Ghazzoul. They are remembered in the dedicated UNESCO page, UNESCO Condemns the Killing of Journalists.


            Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at),  +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…”