UNESCO Condemns Killing of Iraqi Cameraman Saleh Ibrahim and Calls for Improved Safety
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the killing of Iraqi cameraman Saleh Ibrahim in an attack in Mosul, which also left Iraqi photographer Mohammed Ibrahim seriously injured. Both worked for the Associated Press (AP) news agency. The Director-General went on to call for measures to improve the safety of journalists in Iraq.
"I condemn the killers of Saleh Ibrahim," Mr Matsuura said. "Journalists working in Iraq have shown impressive courage in carrying out their professional duty to collect and disseminate information. The number of media workers killed, injured or kidnapped while doing their work in the country is shocking. I call on the authorities and on all the warring factions in Iraq to respect the safety of journalists. The public's right to continue receiving information is crucial for the exercise of their democratic rights," he concluded.
According to the non-governmental organization, Reporters without Borders, 55 journalists and media assistants have been killed in Iraq since the start of fighting in the country in March 2003.
Saleh Ibrahim and Mohammed Ibrahim were injured by unidentified gunmen as they arrived at the scene of an explosion in Mosul on April 23. Saleh Ibrahim died shortly after reaching hospital while Mohammed Ibrahim was being treated for shrapnel wounds in the head.
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..."
(Source: Press Release No.2005-48)