09.02.2009 -

Director-General condemns assassination of Somali journalist Said Tahlil Ahmed

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the assassination of Somali journalist Said Tahlil Ahmed who was killed on 4 February.

"I condemn the killing of Said Tahlil Ahmed," said the Director-General. "Said Tahlil Ahmed has paid with his life for exercising his fundamental human right of freedom of expression and for upholding our right to receive information from free and independent journalists. It is essential for democracy, peace and national reconciliation that the authorities spare no effort in seeking to stop attacks on journalists in Somalia."


Said Tahlil Ahmed, director of Horn Afrik Radio/TV, was shot in the head in the Bakara market of Mogadishu. The Somali Coalition for Freedom of Expression (SOCFEX) has issued a statement linking the murder to HornAfrick's extensive coverage of the Somali presidential election.


Said Tahlil Ahmed is the second journalist killed in Somalia this year, according to SOCFEX.


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..."

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