22.04.2008 -

Director-General condemns killing of Reuters cameraman Fadel Shanaa in Gaza and calls for improved safety of journalists

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, condemned the killing of Fadel Shanaa, a Palestinian cameraman working for the Reuters news agency in Gaza, and urged due regard to the safety of journalists.

"I condemn the killing of Palestinian journalist Fadel Shanaa," declared the Director-General. "I trust the Israeli authorities will spare no effort in investigating the circumstances surrounding the attack on Mr Shanaa's vehicle. It is important," Mr Matsuura added, "that due regard be paid to the safety of journalists, at all times and under all circumstances."

 

Mr Shanaa, 25, died after a missile hit his vehicle on 16 April. He and sound engineer Wafa Barbakh, who was injured, were filming Israeli tanks' action near the Al-Barij refugee camp, when their vehicle was hit. The vehicle is reported to have been clearly marked with the word "Press" to indicate it was being used by journalists.

 

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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