UNESCO chief again deplores killing of Iraqi journalist
Continuing his effort to cast a spotlight on the unprecedented number of Iraqi journalists who have been killed since 2003, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today deplored the deaths last week of Reuters photographer Namir Nour-Eldine and his driver Said Chmagh.
“These brave professionals have added their names to the all too long list of journalists and media workers killed in the exercise of their profession in Iraq,” said Koïchiro Matsuura of the deaths that occurred in the east of Baghdad on 12 July.
“No other conflict has levied such a heavy toll on the press as the one in Iraq,” said the UNESCO chief, calling for “all authorities concerned (to) take measures to reinforce the safety of media professionals so as to halt this bloodletting and protect the basic human right of freedom of expression.”
The two Reuters employees were killed in fighting between United States forces and insurgents. The circumstances of their deaths remain unclear. Iraqi police reported an explosion in the sector but did not say whether it was caused by a US air-strike or by a mortar attack, UNESCO said.
The 22-year old Mr. Nour-Eldine worked as a photographer. Forty-year old Said Chmagh, the driver, was the father of four.
Since March 2003, the Reuters news agency lost six employees in Iraq . According to Reporters without Borders, a total of 191 journalists and their collaborators have been killed in Iraq since the start of the conflict in 2003.