» Director-General voices alarm at continuing abuse against journalists in Syria
31.08.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

Director-General voices alarm at continuing abuse against journalists in Syria

The Director-General of UNESCO has voiced alarm at continuing abuse against journalists in Syria calling on the authorities to respect human right, including the basic rights of freedom of expression.

"I am alarmed at continuing reports of detention and physical abuse against journalists believed to be too critical," the Director-General said. "Torture and detention will never convince the people of Syria that might is right. It is essential for the future of the country and its people that the authorities respect freedom of expression and listen to what their critics have to say."

Irina Bokova made her statement in the wake of numerous disturbing reports, notably news that Syrian caricaturist Ali Ferzat had been cruelly beaten by armed men on the 25th of August. There is also concern for freelance journalist Hanadi Zahlout who has been in jail since her arrest 25 July.


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…”

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