Director-General denounces murder of exiled Iranian television executive Saeed Karimian

18 May 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has condemned the killing of Saeed Karimian, the exiled Iranian founder and Chief Executive Officer of General Entertainment and Media Group, better known as GEM TV, in Istanbul, Turkey, on 29 April

“I condemn the murder of Saeed Karimian,” said the Director-General. “Physically attacking anybody for what they say, write or broadcast is an intolerable contravention of the universal human right of freedom of expression. I call on the relevant authorities to spare no effort in identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators of this crime.”

Saeed Karimian was shot along with a business partner who remains unnamed. Based in Dubai, GEM TV airs films, series and documentaries that are systematically dubbed or subtitled in Farsi and broadcast by satellite to Iran and many other parts the world.

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.


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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…”