31.08.2005 -

Director-General deplores killing in Iraq of Reuters sound engineer Waleed Khaled

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura today deplored the killing of Reuters sound engineer Waleed Khaled, in Baghdad on August 28, and the injuries inflicted on his colleague Haider Kadhem.

He called on all the forces present in the country to exercise vigilance to protect journalists in the exercise of their profession.


"I deplore the killing of Waleed Khaled and the injuries inflicted on his colleague, cameraman Haider Kadhem," the Director-General said. "Despite the tense security situation in Iraq, it is paramount that all those willing to help establish democracy in Iraq be mindful of the right of the media to exercise their profession freely. I trust that the ongoing U.S. investigation will explain the circumstances of events fully and pave the way for improvements in the future. This is essential as the ability of the press to report freely on the situation in Iraq plays a key role in the future success of the democratic reconstruction of the country," Mr Matsuura added.


Both Mr Khaled and Mr Kadhem, Iraqi nationals working for the news agency Reuters, were sent to report on an incident in the Hay al-Adil district of Baghdad.


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..."


(UNESCO Press Release No.2005-98)

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