Building peace in the minds of men and women

Director-General voices concern for media safety in Afghanistan following killing of reporters Noor Ahmad Noori and Ahmad Shahid

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today urged the Afghan authorities to take every possible step to improve the safety of media workers in the country following reports of the killing of two journalists: Noor Ahmad Noori and Ahmad Shahid.

“I condemn the killing of Noor Ahmad Noori and Ahmad Shahid,” the Director-General said. “I call on the authorities to spare no effort to improve the safety of journalists. Their work is indispensable to open debate, reconciliation and reconstruction.”

The body of Noor Ahmad Noori, bearing signs of torture, was found dead on the evening of 23 January in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand. The journalist,who worked for local radio Bost, had gone missing in the morning.

Ahmad Shahid, 20, was killed in a bomb blast in Kabul on 26 January, according to Khaama Press, the Afghan news agency. The journalist died while on his way to work at Radio Nawa and Saba Television.

These two cases are the first in Afghanistan to have been drawn to the attention of the Director-General of UNESCO since 2011. All of UNESCO’s condemnations are available online.


Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at),  +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…”