Director-General condemns murder of Iraqi journalist Soran Mama Hama
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koїchiro Matsuura, condemned the murder of Soran Mama Hama, shot to death on 21 July in the suburbs of Kirkuk in Kurdistan.
"I condemn the murder of Soran Mama Hama," said Mr Matsuura. "This crime, targeting a courageous journalist, illustrates yet again the danger media professionals working in Iraq are exposed to. In order for freedom of expression, cornerstone of democracy, to exist in the country, authorities must pay greater heed to the safety of journalists."
Soran Mama Hama, 23, had been working for three years for Leven, independent bimonthly magazine published in the Kurd language. According to his colleagues, he received threats after writing articles critical of local officials. The journalist was shot in his home in Rasheed Awa, a suburb of Kirkuk, the evening of July 21 by four unidentified gunmen who fled by car.
According to the NGO Reporters withour Borders, 217 media professionals have been killed in Iraq since 2003; 13 of them were killed in Kirkuk.
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..."