Latest killing of Iraqi journalist draws condemnation from UNESCO chief

16 October 2008

The United Nations agency tasked with upholding press freedom today condemned the killing earlier this month of a reporter in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, the latest in a long line of assassinations of journalists in the violence-wracked country.

Dyar Abas Ahmed, a reporter for the independent news website Eye Iraq, was shot repeatedly by unknown assailants while walking with a friend on 10 October, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a press release. He was in his 20s.

At least 135 other journalists have been killed in Iraq while on duty since United States-led forces invaded in March 2003, according to the independent Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), making the country the most unsafe in the world for media workers to practise their craft.

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura described the murder of Mr. Ahmed as “a reprehensible crime” that affected Iraqi society as a whole.

“The frequency of such crimes in Iraq is unacceptable,” Mr. Matsuura said. “It is essential that the Iraqi authorities do all they can to bring the culprits of this crime to justice and do all in their power to improve the safety of journalists in the country.”


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