The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today expressed alarm at the recent killing of six media workers in two separate incidents in Iraq and called for measures to bring those responsible to justice.
“I condemn the killing of Raad Yassin, Jamal Abdel Nasser, Mohamed Ahmad Al-Khatib, Wissam Al-Azzawi and Mohamed Abdel Hamid in an attack on Salaheddin TV in Tikrit, and of Omar Al-Dulaimy in the city of Ramadi,” the Director-General said. “Once again I call on the authorities to do all they can to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice. The escalation of violence against the media in Iraq is intolerable as it poses a severe threat to national reconciliation and reconstruction.”
Omar Al-Dulaimy was killed on 31 December, while covering armed clashes in the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, where he worked as a correspondent for the Voice of Ramadi radio, a station broadcasting in Anbar province.
Five members of Salaheddin TV — chief news editor Raad Yassin, producer Jamal Abdel Nasser, cameraman Mohamed Ahmad Al-Khatib, presenter Wissam Al-Azzawi and archives manager Mohamed Abdel Hamid — were killed in a suicide attack on the headquarters of their television station in Tikrit on 23 December.
These events bring to 15 the number of killings condemned by the Director-General since the start of 2013. A complete list of the murdered journalists whose killing has been denounced by UNESCO is available online.
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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…”