The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, deplored the killing by gunfire of Lebanese TV journalist Ali Shaaban near the Syrian-Lebanese border on 10 April. Ms Bokova called for an investigation into the killing which occurred on the Lebanese side of the frontier.
“I condemn the killing of Ali Shaaban,” the Director-General said. “It is essential to respect the civilian status of journalists and to recognize their right to fulfill their professional responsibilities. “I call on all authorities concerned to investigate this incident and ensure that journalists can carry out their work.”
According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Ali Shaaban, 32, was in a car with two colleagues from the Lebanese television company Al-Jadeed in the border zone in northern Lebanon.
Shaaban was killed when the car he was in came under heavy shooting from unidentified sources. His colleagues were able to escape with injuries which, according to RSF, are not life-threatening.
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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…”