UNESCO Director-General condemns killing of Syrian journalist Mazhar Tayyara

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Syrian freelance journalist Mazhar Tayyara in the city of Homs on the night of 7 February.

“I condemn the killing of Mazhar Tayyara,” said the Director-General. The world’s eyes and ears on the ground are compromised by the death of journalists, and important information may not come to light to concerned national and international audiences. Respect for the basic human right of freedom of expression and for press freedom are essential for any society.”

Mazhar Tayyar freelanced for a range of news media organizations including Agence France-Presse (AFP) and The Guardian (UK). He was killed in the city of Homs in the west of Syria in circumstances that remain unclear.

Tayyara is the fourth journalist to be killed in Syria since the start of protests in the country last year. Three other journalists and media workers killed there since then are listed on UNESCO’s dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.


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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…”