Director-General condemns killing of Pakistani journalist Nasrullah Afridi
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Khyber news agency journalist Nasrullah Afridi when his car exploded in Peshawar on 10 May.
"It is with great concern about the high number of journalists killed in Pakistan that I condemn the killing of Nasrulla Afridi," the Director-General said. "The authorities must spare no effort in bringing the culprits of such crimes to justice, to ensure that journalists can pursue their important work. The time has come for serious action against those who use violence to silence the all important voice of the press."
Nasrullah Afridi of the northwestern Khyber Agency died when his car exploded on 10 May, according to local and international news reports. According to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, the journalist, who also worked for Pakistan Television and the leading Urdu newspaper Mashreq, was in Peshawar fleeing threats from militant groups. He also served as president of the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ).
At least 15 journalists have died in targeted assassinations in Pakistan since 2002, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The killing occurred one week after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari told the CPJ that he would pursue justice for journalists killed on the job.
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..."