UNESCO chief condemns murder of female Iraqi journalist

19 June 2007

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom worldwide has condemned the murder of Iraqi journalist Sahar Hussein Ali al-Haydari, whose murder follows those of two female Afghan journalists in recent weeks.

“In only a few days, three women journalists have been brutally murdered,” declared Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), reacting to the killing of Ms. al-Haydari, who was killed by unidentified gunmen in Mosul on 7 June.

A correspondent for the national Iraqi press agency NINA and the independent agency Aswat al-Iraq, Ms. al-Haydari also taught journalism, including for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in London.

Her murder follows those of Zakia Zaki, founder of one of the first community radio stations in Afghanistan managed by women, and Shokiba Sanga Amaaj, a reporter and presenter for the Pashtu-language private television channel Shamshad TV.

“These pioneering women were targeted because they devoted their energy and courage to help bring about democratic change in their societies,” Mr. Matsuura stated, adding “I trust these particularly heinous crimes will not go unpunished.”

Ms. al-Haydari is the second journalist from Aswat al-Iraq to be murdered this year, according to UNESCO. Her colleague Nazar Abdulwahid al-Radhi was shot to death in southern Iraq on 30 May.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 106 journalists and 39 media workers have been killed in Iraq since March 2003.

 

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