The Director-General of UNESCO today deplored the fatal shooting of Mohammed al-Ashram, a cameraman for Syrian television broadcaster Al-Ikhbariya, in the eastern city of Deir Al-Zour on 10 October. Ms Bokova also called for efforts to secure the release of journalists reported to have gone missing in Syria and are presumed to have been kidnapped.
“I condemn the killing of Mohammed al-Ashram,” the Director-General said. “Journalists must be allowed to carry out their professional duties and I once again call on all the parties involved in the Syrian conflict to respect the civilian status of reporters and media workers. The number of casualties among professional and citizen journalists in Syria is truly alarming and I urge the parties concerned to do all in their power to improve their safety and respect the basic human right of freedom of expression”.
“I am also deeply concerned about the fate of journalists recently reported missing in Syria and call on all concerned to do everything they can to secure their return,” Ms Bokova concluded.
Mohammed al-Ashram, is reported to have been shot and killed on 10 October while covering clashes between Syrian government forces and the rebel Free Syrian Army in the eastern city of Deir Al-Zour.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, several international reporters have gone missing in Syria in recent weeks and are presumed to have been kidnapped.
The killing of Mohammed al-Ashr brings to 32 the number of journalists killed in Syria in 2012. They are all remembered on the dedicated 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…”