Somalia: UNESCO condemns latest murder of journalist

Somalia: UNESCO condemns latest murder of journalist

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The head of the United Nations agency mandated to defend press freedom today deplored the killing of a reporter in Somalia and called for measures to improve the safety of journalists in the country, which has become one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists to work.

Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), issued a statement offering his condolences after the death of Hassan Kafi Hared, who worked for the Somali National News Agency.

Mr. Hared died last Monday when a remote-controlled mine in the south-western port town of Kismayo blew up a vehicle belonging to the non-governmental organization (NGO) Médecins Sans Frontières. Shooting followed the explosion. Two MSF aid workers and their driver were also killed in the attack.

“I wish to pay tribute to the dedication of Hassan Kafi Hared and his colleagues, who carry out work essential for national reconciliation and reconstruction at tremendous personal risk, as tragically shown by this event,” Mr. Matsuura said, extending his condolences to MSF as well.

“Journalists must be able to work in conditions of reasonable safety if they are to exercise the fundamental human right of freedom of expression and keep the population of Somalia and of the world informed about events in the country.”

Seven journalists were killed in the line of duty in Somalia last year and, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), it is now the second-most dangerous country to be a journalist, behind only Iraq.