11.10.2006 -

Director-General condemns murder of German journalists Karen Fischer and Christian Struwe in Afghanistan

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing in Afghanistan of two German journalists Karen Fischer and Christian Struwe and called for improved safety for journalists working in the country.

"I condemn the murder of Karen Fischer and Christian Struwe," said the Director-General. "It is essential that journalists, whether Afghan or foreign, be able to carry out their professional activities safely. Their ability to exercise their basic human right of freedom of expression is essential to the establishment of democracy and rule of law in Afghanistan," concluded Mr Matsuura.

 

Karen Fischer, 30, and Christian Struwe, 38, who were researching a television documentary for the German network Deutsche Welle were travelling to Bamiyan through the northern province of Baghlan, about 100 miles northwest of Kabul, when they were killed by attackers using assault weapons on 6 October.

 

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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