UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today spoke out against the killing of Somali TV journalist Abdisalam Sheikh Hassan, who was shot dead in Mogadishu on 18 December.
“I condemn the murder of Abdisalam Sheikh Hassan,” the Director-General said. “Securing safer working conditions must be made into a priority in Somalia’s effort to establish democracy and rule of law. I therefore call on the transitional government to investigate this crime against a journalist and against society as a whole.”
Freelance journalist Abdisalam Sheikh Hassan, 38, was shot in the head as he left the offices of Horn Cable TV, for whom he worked. The National Union of Somali Journalists reports that Sheik Hassan, the third reporter killed in Mogadishu this year, also worked for Hamar Radio and Voice of Democracy (VoD). He died in hospital shortly after the shooting.
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…”