The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today expressed grave concern over the continued killing of journalists in Syria following the death of reporter Suhail Mahmoud Al-Ali on 4 January.
“I condemn the killing of Suhail Mahmoud Al-Ali,” the Director-General said, recalling that more journalists were killed in Syria in 2012 than anywhere else. “I am appalled by the death toll of Syrian journalists and call on all parties to recognize reporters’ duty to continue informing the public even in the midst of strife. Once again, I call on all sides to respect journalists’ civilian status and let them benefit from their basic right to speak freely, in keeping with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Suhail Mahmoud Al-Ali died from injuries while covering fighting in the city of Aleppo.
Forty-one professional and citizen journalists died in Syria in 2012. They are remembered in the dedicated UNESCO site, 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…”