18.12.2010 - UNESCOPRESS

Director-General condemns murder of Pakistani journalist Muhammad Khan Sasoli in Balochistan

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has called on Pakistani authorities to investigate the murder of journalist Muhammad Khan Sasoli. He was gunned down outside his home on 14 December in Khuzdhar, town in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

“I condemn the murder of Muhammad Khan Sasoli,” said Ms Bokova. “Acts of violence against journalists represent attacks on freedom of expression. Only by protecting this fundamental right can we have democratic societies. I call upon the authorities to do their utmost to investigate this crime and arrest the perpetrators, in order to put a stop to violence against journalists in Pakistan. Three other journalists died this month in Pakistan besides Mr Sasoli, a fact that underlines the extreme dangers faced by media professionals in the country.”

             Sasoli, 36, worked as the correspondent of Royal TV and the INP news agency in Khuzdhar and was president of the town’s press club, according to Reporters Without Borders. He was shot four times by two men on a motorcycle waiting outside his house and died instantly. No group has so far claimed the killing.

             On 6 December, three Pakistani journalists were killed in two separate incidents. Altaf Chandio was shot dead in Sindh Province; Abdul Wahab and Pervez Khan were killed in a suicide bombing in the north-west tribal area.

             The Committee to Protect Journalists said in its year-end analysis that at least eight journalists were killed while performing their duties in Pakistan in 2010.

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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…”









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