22.01.2008 -

Director-General condemns killing of Norwegian reporter Carsten Thomassen in Kabul Hotel

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura condemned the killing of Norwegian reporter Carsten Thomassen who died in the Taleban attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul on 14 January.

"I deplore the killing of Carsten Thomassen," said the Director-General. "Mr Thomassen was a distinguished professional who travelled the world to inform his readers about the very different realities of different peoples. It mattered to him and to his readers to know about the different reality of people in faraway countries. His death reminds us of the danger encountered by journalists exercising their profession to ensure the free flow of information, especially in dangerous situations."

 

Thirty-eight-year-old Carsten Thomassen was a seasoned international reporter for Norwegian daily newspaper, Dagbladet. He was accompanying Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre when the hotel he was staying in was attacked by a suicide bomber and three gunmen. Mr Thomassen is reported to have been shot in the back in the attack which five other people were killed. The Taleban have claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

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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