10.06.2009 -

Director-General calls for the release of Ibrahim Mohammed Ali, media executive kidnapped in Somalia

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today called for the unconditional release of Ibrahim Mohammed Ali, a Somali television executive kidnapped in Garasbaley, in Somalia, on 2 June and called for measures to protect media personnel in the country.

“I call for the unconditional liberation of Ibrahim Mohammed Ali,” the Director-General said. “Media professionals have been target to unacceptable violence in Somalia and I call on the authorities to do all in their power to improve the safety of journalists. Allowing professional journalists to do their work is important for society as a whole. Freedom of expression and press freedom are no less essential in times of turmoil such as experienced by Somalia, if citizens are to contribute to the reconstruction of their country,” Mr Matsuura concluded.

Ibrahim Mohammed Ali, also known as Jeekey, is the director of Universal television channel based in Garasbaley, Somalia.

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…”

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