22.04.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

Director-General deplores death of photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros in Libya

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova today deplored the deaths of photojournalist and film-maker Tim Hetherington and photographer Chris Hondros, killed in a mortar attack in the city of Misrata (Libya) on 20 April.

Two other photojournalists, Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown, were seriously injured in the same attack.              

“I deplore the killing of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros,” the Director-General said. “These brave men have paid with their lives for their commitment to their profession. Their deaths serve as a tragic reminder of the dangers of this profession, and, at the same time, the critical role of the media in providing accurate and timely information on events that impact on so many lives and influence the course of history.                

“I wish Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown a speedy and complete recovery from their injuries,” Irina Bokova added.              

Tim Hetherington, 40, was a seasoned photojournalist who contributed photographs to U.S. magazine Vanity Fair. Restrepo, an acclaimed 2010 documentary film about fighting in Afghanistan, which he directed with journalist Sebastian Junger had been nominated for an Oscar. He held dual British and American citizenship.  

Award-winning U.S. war photographer Chris Hondros, 41, worked for Getty Images. His pictures appeared in many magazines and newspapers, notably on the front page of the Washington Post of 20 April.  

The two men were covering the battle for Misrata when they were fatally wounded by the mortar shelling of Tripoli Street.


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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