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UNESCO chief speaks out against killing of Iraqi journalist

Stop killing journalists.
UNESCO
Stop killing journalists.

UNESCO chief speaks out against killing of Iraqi journalist

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with promoting press freedom has condemned the murder of an Iraqi journalist, and urged the authorities to improve the safety of media professionals in the country.

Muhieddin Abdul Hamid, 50, was a presenter on the local channel of Iraq’s public television. He was shot dead by unidentified gunmen near his home in northern city of Mosul on 17 June.

Deploring this latest act of violence against members of the media in Iraq, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koïchiro Matsuura, called on authorities there to redouble their efforts to improve the safety of journalists “who have been paying an unacceptably high toll for the basic human right of freedom of expression.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Mr. Hamid’s murder brings to at least 129 the number of journalists killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003. Fifty other media workers have also been killed in the country over the same period.

Mr. Matsuura stressed that journalists have an essential role to play in the reconstruction of a democratic Iraq. “Those who attack them are attacking Iraqi society as a whole.”