02.11.2009 -

Director-General condemns killing of Iraqi TV cameraman Orhan Hijran

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing of Iraqi cameraman Orhan Hijran, who died in an explosion on 21 October.

"I condemn the killing of Orhan Hijran," said the Director-General. "A shocking number of Iraqi journalists and media workers have paid with their lives for the fundamental human right of freedom of expression over recent years. It is essential for the reconstruction of a free and democratic Iraq that the authorities improve the safety of journalists and enable them to carry out their work for the benefit of all."

 

Orhan Hijran, aged 18, died when a bomb exploded in front of his house in the city of Kirkuk. He worked as a cameraman for the Al-Rasheed art, culture and entertainment satellite channel launched in January this year.

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 purpose the Organization is required 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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