UN official condemns killing of journalists in Afghanistan and Brazil

3 October 2011

The head of the United Nations agency that defends press freedom today condemned the killing of an Iranian journalist in an attack in neighbouring Afghanistan, and called for better safety for journalists working in the troubled Asian country.

Farhad Taqaddosi, a cameraman working for Press TV, was severely injured during a Taliban attack in Kabul on 13 September. He died from his injuries one week later in hospital.

“The killing of journalists undermines the profession’s ability to carry out its duty to provide first hand information to the public. Freedom of the press is indispensible for our enjoyment of the fundamental human right of freedom of expression,” Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova said.

“I therefore call on the authorities to do all in their power to ensure better safety for journalists working in Afghanistan” she said in a press release issued on Friday.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Mr. Taqaddosi is the 21st journalist to be killed in Afghanistan since the beginning of the United States-led intervention in 2001. Two thirds of the casualties were international journalists, an unusual occurrence as the CPJ reports that in most countries local journalists are killed in greater numbers than foreign media professionals.

Ms. Bokova also condemned the recent killing of Brazilian journalist Valderlei Canuto Leandro, and called for the immediate investigation of his murder.

Mr. Canuto Leandro, host of the radio show Sinal Verde (Green Signal) on Radio Frontera, was shot by unidentified assailants on 1 September in the city of Tabatinga. His murder is suspected to be linked to his investigations on cases of suspected corruption.

“This crime must be investigated and its perpetrators must be brought to justice. Impunity in such cases should not be tolerated as it weakens democracy and rule of law,” she said.


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