UNESCO Director-General condemns car bomb attack on Al-Arabiya's bureau in Iraq
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the car bomb attack that devastated the Baghdad bureau of television news station Al-Arabiya on 26 July, killing three people and injuring 16. The Dubai-based station had recently received several threats from terrorist networks.
"I condemn the bomb attack against the Iraqi headquarters of the television news station Al-Arabiya," the Director-General said. "Journalists must be able to do their work without fearing for their lives. When they are targeted, it is an attack on freedom of expression as a whole. I count on the Iraqi authorities to do all that is in their power to pursue the culprits and bring them to justice."
The car bomb attack against Al-Arabiya occurred on the morning of 26 July outside the station's headquarters in central Baghdad. According to the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the blast left three people dead, 16 injured, and one person missing.
The satellite TV station is financed by Saudi and Gulf capital. Its Baghdad bureau, opened in 2003, had been hit by terrorist attacks before. It was temporarily shut down on 25 June following an interior ministry communiqué warning that terrorist groups had threatened bombings.
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 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..."