Director-General urges Syrian authorities to investigate deaths of five Syrian journalists in shell attacks
Director-General Irina Bokova today deplored the deaths of five citizen journalists, killed in shell attacks over Damascus and Homs on May 27 and 28. The Director-General stressed the need for authorities to investigate the incident and to take steps to ensure the safety of journalists in Syria.
“I condemn the deaths of Ammar Mohamed Zado, Ahmed Adnan Al-Ashlaq, Lawrence Fahmy Al-Naimi, Bassel Al Shahade and Ahmed Al Assam, citizen journalists who lost their lives while trying to inform the Syrian people of the tragic events taking place in their country” said the Director-General.
“I call on the Syrian authorities to fully investigate the circumstances of their deaths. I also call on all parties involved in the present conflict to take all necessary steps to improve safety for all media workers in Syria, who are not only defending the right of the Syrian people to information and press freedom, but are also exercising their own right to freedom of expression, which is vital for all societies.”
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Ammar Mohamed Zado, Ahmed Adnan Al-Ashlaq and Lawrence Fahmy Al-Naimi worked for the Shaam News Network. They were killed in Damascus on 27 May when the apartment they were staying in was shelled. On May 28, the CPJ reports, Bassel Al Shahade, who was working on a documentary film and cameraman Ahmed Al Assam, were killed while filming an assault by armed forces in the Safsafa district of Homs.
These latest deaths bring the total number of citizen journalists killed in Syria since February to 11. The six others were Rami al-Sayed (killed 21 February), Anas al-Tarsha (24 February), Ahmed Abdollah Fakhriyeh (14 April), Sameer Shalab al-Sham (14 April), Alaa al-Din Hassan al-Douri (17 April) and Khaled Mahmoud Kabbisho (17 April).
The full list of assassinated journalists can be found on the Organization’s dedicated webpage.
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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…”