UNESCO condemns latest killings of Iraqi journalists and support workers

24 September 2008

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with preserving press freedom today condemned the latest killings of journalists and media support workers in Iraq and urged the country’s authorities to devise stronger measures to try to protect the media.

Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), issued a statement today in which he condemned the murder of Musab Mahmood al-Ezawi, Ahmed Salim, Ihab Mu’d and Qaydar Sulaiman in Mosul on 13 September.

“These killings are yet another intolerable attack on the Iraqi people’s struggle to rebuild their country and establish a democratic society,” he said.

“In view of the importance for democracy of freedom of expression and informed public debate, I call on the authorities to give priority to finding effective measures to protect the media.”

Mr. al-Ezawi was a senior correspondent with al-Sharqiya television network, Mr. Salim and Mr. Mu’d were cameramen for the same network and Mr. Sulaiman was their driver when they were kidnapped while filming a show in Mosul.

The independent Committee to Protect Journalists reported that the bodies of the four men – all believed to have been aged in the 20s – were later found a short distance away from where they were attacked.

Iraq is the most dangerous country in the world for journalists to operate, and since the United States-led invasion in March 2003 at least 135 journalists have been murdered while on duty and 51 media support workers have also been killed.

 

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