The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today denounced the killing of Egyptian press photographer Ahmed Assem el-Senousy, and urged all parties to respect the right of journalists to carry out their work in safe conditions.
“I condemn the killing of Ahmed Assem el-Senousy,” said the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova.
“I urge all parties to respect the need of journalists to perform their professional duties safely. Society as a whole depends on free and independent media to make informed choices.”
Mr. el-Senousy, 26, was a photographer with the newspaper Al-Horreya-Wal-Adalah (Freedom and Justice). He was shot dead on 8 July while covering a demonstration.
More than 80 people have reportedly been killed and thousands more have been injured in the recent protests in Egypt, where the military deposed President Mohamed Morsy and suspended the Constitution earlier this month. Since then, Mr. Morsy’s foes and supporters have continued to face off in huge demonstrations, with security forces and police adding to the deepening chaos.
UNESCO’s statement comes as the Security Council is set to hold an open debate today in New York on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, particularly the protection of journalists. The session is intended to, among other things, serve as a reminder that all perpetrators of violence against journalists must be held accountable, and that all States have a responsibility to combat impunity.