The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today voiced deep concern about the safety of journalists in Pakistan following the murder of reporter Rehmatullah Abid in the province of Balochistan on 18 November.
“I condemn the murder of Rehmatullah Abid, and urge the authorities to do all they can to prosecute the perpetrators of attacks against the media”. the Director-General said.
Abid was killed by unidentified gunmen in a barbershop in Panjgur, about 600 kilometres from Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. He had worked for the Urdu-language news and current affairs channel Dunya News. He also wrote for Urdu-language daily newspaper Intikhaab.
The killing of Abid brings to eight the number of journalists and media workers murdered in Pakistan this year. They are remembered in the dedicated webpage, UNESCO Condemns 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…”