UNESCO chief condemns murder of yet another Iraqi journalist
The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the recent killing of a veteran Iraqi journalist, declaring that violence against media professionals in the strife-torn country has reached “terrifying proportions.”
“No words are strong enough to condemn these recurring crimes, targeting courageous professionals striving to uphold the fundamental human right of free expression, and its corollary, press freedom,” stated UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.
Hamed Abd Farhan, the latest member of the Iraqi press to lose his life, was shot to death in south Baghdad on 26 June, only a few days after the deaths of Alef Ali Falih and Rahim Al-Maliki, killed in separate bombings.
“It is crucial for the construction of democracy in Iraq that authorities do everything in their power to reinforce security for media professionals,” Mr. Matsuura said.
Mr. Farhan, 57, worked for a number of Iraqi newspapers and magazines, as well as for the private agency Irakioun. He had previously spent 30 years on the staff of the Iraqi press agency. He was gunned down in his car in Al-Sidiya, in the southern part of Baghdad.
Alef Ali Falih, 32, correspondent for the independent press agency Aswat al-Iraq died in a terrorist bombing that killed several people on 11 June in Al-Khalis, 55 kilometres north of Baghdad.
Poet and journalist Rahim al-Maliki, 39, host of cultural programmes on Al-Iraqiya, was one of the victims of the suicide bombing against the Hotel Milia-Mansour in Baghdad on 25 June.
According to Reporters without Borders, 36 media professionals have lost their lives in Iraq since the start of this year.