The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today called on all parties to protect the safety of journalists in Syria, where journalist Osama Nasr al-Zoabi was killed on 21 August.
“I condemn the killing of Osama Nasr al-Zoabi,” said the Director-General. “It is unacceptable that journalists should have to sacrifice their lives to keep us informed and to provide civilians in theatres of war with information that can be vital for their survival. I call on all parties to respect the civilian status of journalists in conflict zones and protect them, in line with the Geneva Conventions.”
Osama Nasr al-Zoabi, regional director of the Syrian Media Organization, was killed in a bomb explosion while travelling to report on the humanitarian situation in the southwestern province of Daraa.
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…”