22.08.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Director-General deplores killing of Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto in Aleppo

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today urged the parties to the conflict in Syria to respect the fundamental human right of freedom of expression and journalists’ right to carry out their work in conditions of reasonable safety, following the death of Japanese reporter Mika Yamamoto.

“I condemn the killing of Mika Yamamoto,” the Director-General said. “Once again, I urge all parties to respect their obligation not to target journalists whose civilian status they must recognize. It is equally essential that all parties respect the fundamental human right of freedom of expression, and press freedom which is its corollary.”

Mika Yamamoto,  a 45-year-old video and photo journalist, was shot dead in Aleppo on 20 August while reporting on heavy fighting in the city for the Japan Press news agency.

At least 27 journalists, local and international, have been killed while covering events in Syria since the start of 2012. Their names can be found on UNESCO’s dedicated webpage.


Media contact: Guy Berger, g.berger(at)unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 03

 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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