UNESCO chief voices outrage at killings of journalists in Iraq

UNESCO chief voices outrage at killings of journalists in Iraq

UNESCO head Koïchiro Matsuura
The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today expressed outrage at the killing of several journalists in Iraq over the past week.

"The media's work is essential for the establishment of democracy," said Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura in a statement condemning Monday's assassination of Dhia Najim, a freelance photo-journalist who worked for Reuters and The Associated Press.

"The murderous campaign waged against journalists in Iraq must be recognized for what it is: a campaign to terrorize and cower the people."

Mr. Matsuura also deplored Saturday's car bombing in Baghdad, which killed five staffers of Al-Arabiya television, as well as the murder of a journalist from Al-Charkia television on 27 October.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the UNESCO chief condemned the murder of documentary film-maker Theo Van Gogh in Amsterdam on 2 November.

Mr. Van Gogh "in his way exemplified freedom of expression," said Mr. Matsuura. "Democracy and the rule of law require that people like him express themselves freely, even when their words and the ideas they hold are disturbing."