On eve of Press Freedom Day, UN Iraq envoy urges end to deadly toll of reporters

2 May 2006
SRSG Ashraf Qazi

In a message ahead of World Press Freedom Day in a country where more than 70 journalists have been killed in the past three years, the top United Nations envoy in Iraq today called on the new Government to reaffirm its commitment to protect the right of journalists to do their work free from intimidation and threats.

In a message ahead of World Press Freedom Day in a country where more than 70 journalists have been killed in the past three years, the top United Nations envoy in Iraq today called on the new Government to reaffirm its commitment to protect the right of journalists to do their work free from intimidation and threats.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Ashraf Qazi also urged the incoming Government to assist Iraq’s independent media in its struggle for the right to seek, receive and impart information in a responsible manner, terming it one of the necessary preconditions for establishing a healthy democracy in Iraq.

Media freedom and access to information play a key role in empowering the powerless and promoting tolerance, respect and peace, he said, noting that Iraq has become a very risky environment for journalists and urging all concerned to show the Iraqi media corps respect and appreciation for their courage and the sacrifices they have made.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), more than 70 journalists have been killed on duty in Iraq since the United States-led invasion in March 2003 and many others have been maimed, detained or threatened while pursuing the right to freedom of expression. “Some of them we had the privilege to know in person,” Mr. Qazi said.

 

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