Building peace in the minds of men and women

Director-General voices grave concern for safety of media workers in Iraq after murder of cameraman Alaa Edwar

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today deplored the murder of news cameraman Alaa Edwar in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh on 24 November and called for measures to improve the safety of media workers in the country.

“I condemn the murder of Alaa Edwar,” the Director-General said. “Intimidation and violence are being used to prevent the Iraqi public from receiving news. It is therefore urgent that the authorities do all they can to bring the perpetrators of Alaa Edwar’s murder to justice.”

Alaa Edwar, 41, had resigned from his job as cameraman for Nineveh Al-Ghad Television after receiving threats that he would be killed if he continued in his line of work. He was shot dead by unidentified gunmen near his home in the north of Mosul.

Over the past five years 23 journalists have been killed in Iraq including Edwar, and the authorities have been  requested to investigate the deaths. .Every two years, the Report by the Director-General of UNESCO on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity monitors attacks on journalists and national authorities response to these crimes. They have been compiled since 2008 as part of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of the Media (IPDC) and are presented to the Intergovernmental Council in charge of the Programme. ****

            See also: UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

            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…”