UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today denounced the murders of Pakistani journalists Tariq Kamal and Murtaza Razvi and expressed alarm over the continued deteriorating security of journalists in the country.
“The brutal murders of Tariq Kamal and Murtaza Razvi stand unequivocally condemned,” the Director-General said. “Every attempt must be made to bring their killers to justice”.
“These latest killings, coming less than one month apart, highlight once again the dangerous conditions in which journalists in Pakistan work. This is cause for alarm and requires urgent action, in the name of press freedom and the rights of citizens to be informed.”
Tariq Kamal was a reporter with a Sindhi language daily published in Karachi. He was reported missing on 7 May, along with a friend. The bodies of the two men were found on 9 May.
According to Kamal’s family, he had left Karachi for another town in Sindh province on 3 May to follow up what he described as an “exclusive” news story. He was reported missing after his family failed to receive any news from him.
Murtaza Razvi was a well-known columnist and political analyst with the national English language daily Dawn. His body was found strangled and tortured in a Karachi apartment on 19 April.
Twenty-five journalists and media workers, including Tariq Kamal and Murtaza Razvi, have been killed in Pakistan since 2002. They are listed on the dedicated website, 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.
Sylvie Coudray, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12, s.coudray(at)unesco.org
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…”