The head of the United Nations agency defending press freedom today condemned the recent killing in Syria of French television reporter Gilles Jacquier and called on authorities to ensure the safety of journalists working in the country.
Mr. Jacquier, a reporter for French public television France 2, was killed on Wednesday by unidentified gunfire while on a press visit to the troubled city of Homs. Six Syrian nationals were also killed in the incident, and a Dutch photographer was severely injured.
The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, urged the Syrian authorities to investigate the killing and ensure safer working conditions for journalists in the country, which has been beset by bloody unrest since early last year.
“It is essential that the authorities investigate this serious attack on freedom of expression and freedom of information,” she stated.
“The number of people, journalists and non-journalists, killed in Syria is deeply troubling,” added Ms. Bokova. “I call on the authorities to do all in their power to ensure the full exercise of the universally recognized basic human right of freedom of expression and citizens’ access to information.”
More than 5,000 people have lost their lives across Syria since a popular uprising began in March last year, part of the Arab Spring movement that has engulfed the Middle East and North Africa and toppled several long-standing regimes.