Director-General condemns killing of two CBS crew members in Baghdad calls for improved safety for journalists in Iraq
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing of CBS cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan in Baghdad on Monday and called for improved safety for media workers in Iraq.
"I condemn the killing of Paul Douglas and James Brolan," the Director-General declared. "The death toll among media personnel, both national and international, in Iraq has reached truly alarming levels. Once again, I wish to express my sincere admiration for the courage of journalists and media workers who brave intolerable levels of danger to continue informing the world about events in Iraq. They are carrying out work which is essential for the reconstruction and consolidation of democracy in Iraq.
"I urge all authorities concerned," Mr Matsuura concluded, "to spare no effort in seeking to improve the conditions of safety of journalists, media workers and support staff committed to the fundamental human right of freedom of expression in Iraq."
Mr Douglas and James Brolan, both British nationals, died when the US military unit they were accompanying came under attack. CBS correspondent, Kimberly Dozier, who holds both British and US citizenship, is reported to have been seriously injured in the attack. According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), these killings bring to 127 the total of media staff killed in Iraq since 2003. Twenty-two media workers were killed in 2006 so far, according to the NGO.
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..."