Director-General deeply concerned about killing of Somali radio satirist Warsame Shire Awale

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the murder of writer and radio personality Warsame Shire Awale on 29 October and urged the authorities to spare no effort in pursuing those responsible for his assassination.

“I am appalled by the shooting of Warsame Shire Awale, who appears to have been killed because of his denunciation of violence against civilians. It is essential that the authorities take action against the perpetrators of such crimes which are used to terrorise a whole society and prevent its members, including journalists, from speaking freely in public. Freedom of expression is a basic human right which no society can afford to live without.”


Warsame Shire Awale, a writer, singer, comedian and radio personality, worked as a satirist for Radio Kulmiye. He was shot dead near his house in Mogadishu. According to reports by the National Union of Somali Journalists, he had recently received death threats related to comments he made about gunmen who kill civilians.

This murder brings to 18 the number of journalists and media personalities killed in Somalia this year alone. Their cases are to be found on the dedicated internet page UNESCO Condemns the Killing of Journalists.


Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at),  +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12


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…”