12.06.2008 -

Director-General condemns assassination of Afghan journalist Abdul Samad Rohani

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the assassination of Abdul Samad Rohani on 7 June in Lashkar Gah, in the south of Afghanistan.

"I condemn the assassination of Abdul Samad Rohani," declared the Director-General. "Using violence to muzzle journalists is an unacceptable breach of the basic human right of freedom of expression and of the right of members of the public to make informed decisions about their lives and their future. Improving the safety of journalists in Afghanistan remains a priority for UNESCO. Freedom of expression is essential for building sustainable democracy," Mr Matsuura concluded.

 

Mr Rohani worked with the BBC Kabul bureau and was the Pashto service reporter for the BBC World Service in Helmand. He is the fourth journalist killed in Afghanistan in the past year, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

 

The Director-General has written to the BBC expressing his support for the Corporation which lost another reporter on the same day, Nasteh Dahir Farah, who was killed in Somalia.

 

UNESCO is the only 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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