The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova has denounced the killing of Aqil Mohammad Waqar in Afghanistan.
“I condemn the murder of Aqil Mohammad Waqar,” the Director-General said. “Informed and open debate, one of the foundations of democracy, cannot prosper without free and independent media. I call on the authorities to ensure swift justice and to enhance the safety of the professionals who make informed discussion possible.”
Aqil Mohammad Waqar was killed on 16 January in the province of Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan. Waqar was a reporter and a programme presenter for the local broadcaster Spinghar Radio.
The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, 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…”