Director-General condemns killing of Iraqi journalist in Tikrit
The Director-General UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Iraqi freelance journalist Sabah al-Bazee in a gun attack on a government building in Tikrit, Iraq, in which more than 20 people were killed and dozens injured.
"I condemn the killing of Sabah al-Bazee," the Director-General declared. "The vicious attack that took his life, and many others as well, is an attack against the whole of Iraqi society and must not go unpunished.
"Free and independent information, the basis of open informed debate, is essential for the reconstruction of Iraq where all too many journalists have been paying with their lives to keep civil society at home and abroad informed.
"I encourage the authorities in Iraq to do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to justice."
Sabah al-Bazee, 30, worked for several media organizations including Reuters, CNN and other international news outlets. He was among more than 20 people who were killed on 29 March when gunmen seized control of the provincial government building in Tikrit, 140 kilometres northwest of Baghdad.
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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