The Director-General of UNESCO today expressed deep concern about press freedom in Pakistan following the killings of journalists Abdul Razaq Gul in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and Aurengzeb Tunio who was killed with two other people, in Sindh on 19 May and 10 May respectively.
“The number of journalists who are paying with their lives for doing their job in Pakistan is alarming, the Director-General said. “I condemn the killings of Abdul Razaq Gul and Aurengzeb Tunio who died alongside two companions. I urge the authorities to investigate these killings. It is essential for freedom of expression and for good governance that those responsible for the death of journalists be brought to justice.”
Abdul Razaq Gul, a journalist for Express news TV based in Balochistan, was found dead and his body showed signs of torture. He had been kidnapped while returning home the previous evening. Gul was also the secretary of the Press Club of Turbat, the city where he lived.
Some 20 gunmen are reported to have attacked the office of Aurangzeb Tunio, a TV reporter for the Sindhi-language Kawaish Television Network in Lalu Ranwak village in Sindh. They killed the journalist, his brother, Rustam Tunio, and a family friend, Deedar Khaskheli.
A total of 27 journalists and media workers, including Abdul Razaq Gul and Aurengzeb Tunio, have been killed in Pakistan since 2008 and are remembered on the dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.
In 2010, UNESCO provided training to journalists in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan focusing on conflict reporting skills, ethical reporting standards, as well as safety and security of media workers in conflict zones. In 2011, UNESCO conducted capacity building workshops for over 330 radio and newspaper journalists in the smaller towns and rural areas of Pakistan to enhance the quality of reporting and news production.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, +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…”