The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today called for an investigation into the July 31st killing of Ghazwan Anas, a sports and entertainment reporter who was murdered in Mosul, in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region.
“I condemn the murder of Ghazwan Anas,” said the Director-General. “This crime is an intolerable attack on freedom of expression, a fundamental human right which forms the cornerstone of democracy. The liberty to investigate and report important issues sustains social debate. Journalists must be able to work without fear of reprisal.”
Anas, 27, hosted several programs on Sama Mosul, a local TV station that began broadcasting last year. According to Reporters Without Borders, Anas often broached controversial subjects as a reporter, and was subsequently targeted for his work. He and his family had just sat down to break the day-long Ramadan fast when four gunmen entered their Mosul home. The attack left Anas’ mother, wife and four-month-old son in critical condition.
The death of Ghazwan Anas marks the second journalist to be murdered in Iraq this year. The first, Kamiran Salaheddin, was killed on 2 April in Tikri after a bomb was placed under his car.
UNESCO is the only 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…”
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