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UNESCO chief condemns murder of Iraqi cameraman

UNESCO chief condemns murder of Iraqi cameraman

The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – tasked with defending press freedom worldwide – today condemned the murder of a cameraman in Iraq.

Speaking out against the killing of Saif Fakhri, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said “his name is now added to the terrifyingly long list of journalists, media technicians, drivers, guards and others who have fallen in Iraq in the name of freedom of expression.”

“We must pay homage to them, but we must also do everything we can to support media professionals in their unrelenting battle against those who want neither freedom nor democracy for the Iraqi people,” he added, urging international and Iraqi authorities to do their utmost to protect media professionals and those who work for them.

Mr. Fakhri, who was gunned down on 1 June while on his way to a mosque near his home in Baghdad, is the fifth employee of the Associated Press Television News (APTN) to be killed in Iraq.

The day before his murder, the Iraqi press lost another of its members: Khalil Youssef Ahmad, the father of Al-Arabiya journalist Doha Al-Haddad, was abducted and executed on 31 May. According to the non-governmental organization (NGO) Reporters without Borders, Ms. Al-Haddad received a call on her mobile phone ordering her to give up her professional activity.

Reporters without Borders says that at least 182 journalists and media personnel have been killed in Iraq since the start of the conflict in March 2003. In addition, the fate of 14 media professionals abducted in the country is unknown.