18.06.2009 -

Director-General condemns murder of Somali journalist Muktar Mohamed Hirabe

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, condemned an attack on 7 June on two Somali journalists in Mogadishu: Muktar Mohamed Hirabe, who died on the spot, and Ahmed Omar Hashi, who was seriously injured.

"I condemn the murder of Muktar Mohamed Hirabe," declared the Director-General. "This killing, and the wounding of Ahmed Omar Hashi in the same attack, constitute an intolerable breach of the basic human right of freedom of expression and of citizens' right to be informed. It is essential for the return of peace and democracy to Somalia that those in positions of authority do all they can to end these unacceptable attacks on media personnel. It is also essential that measures be taken to punish the culprits of these crimes."


Muktar Mohamed Hirabe, 48, is the fifth journalist assassinated in Somalia this year. He was the director of Radio Shabelle, which lost a total of three journalists to such attacks this year.


The radio director was walking in Bakara Market with Ahmed Omar Hashi, Radio Shabelle's news editor, when two unidentified men opened fire on them. Muktar Mohamed Hirabe died on the spot while Ahmed Omar Hashi was seriously injured.

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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