Friday, March 11, 2011

Director-General condems murder of Iraqi journalist Hilal al-Ahmadi

10-03-2011 (Paris)

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, condemned today the killing of Iraqi journalist Hilal al-Ahmadi, gunned down in Mosul in February.

“I condemn the murder of Iraqi freelance journalist Hilal al-Ahmadi," said the Director-General. "Attacking journalists cannot be tolerated. By denying citizens access to information, these crimes tear at the very fabric of emerging democracies. They must be investigated and punished.”

Hilal al-Ahmadi was gunned down as he was leaving home for work in Mosul on 17 February. Al-Ahmadi was a well-known freelance journalist whose work for several publications focused on corruption.

Seven journalists were killed in Iraq in 2010 compared to four in 2009, according to Reporters Without Borders.

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."

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