Director-General condemns killing of Iraqi TV executive Taha Hameed
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, condemned the killing of Iraqi television executive Taha Hameed and called for improved safety for journalists in the country.
Taha Hameed, the head of al-Massar TV, was driving with Iraqi human rights activist Abed Farhan Thiyab when they were shot dead in the south of Baghdad on 8 April.
"I am deeply concerned about the safety of journalists and media workers in Iraq," the Director-General said. "By informing the public, by promoting dialogue and debate, by giving voice to the citizens of Iraq, the media play a major role in the reconstruction of the country. They must be able to work in conditions of reasonable safety and in the knowledge that crimes against them will not go unpunished.
"I condemn the killings of Taha Hameed and Abed Farhan Thiyab, and urge the Iraqi authorities to take all possible measures to bring the perpetrators to justice."
According to the International Press Institute, Taha Hameed is the 5th journalist to be killed in Iraq this year.
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..."