Director-General condemns assassination of Iraqi journalist Muhieddin Abdul Hamid
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the assassination of Iraqi television journalist Muhieddin Abdul Hamid, who was killed in the northern city of Mosul on 17 June.
"I condemn the assassination of Muhieddin Abdul Hamid," declared the Director-General. "I call on the authorities of Iraq to redouble their efforts to improve the safety of journalists who have been paying an unacceptably high toll for the basic human right of freedom of expression. Journalists have an essential role to play in the reconstruction of a democratic Iraq. Those who attack them are attacking Iraqi society as a whole."
Muhieddin Abdul Hamid, 50, was a presenter on the local channel of Iraq's public television. He was shot dead by unidentified assailants not far from his home in Mosul. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), this murder brings to at least 129 the number of journalists killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003. The CPJ also reports that 50 other media workers have been murdered in the country over the same time.
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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