The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom expressed alarm today over violent suppression of the media in Iraq, following the killing of news cameraman Alaa Edwar in the northern province of Nineveh.
“I condemn the murder of Alaa Edwar,” Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said, calling for measures to improve the safety of media workers in the country.
Mr. Edwar, 41, had resigned from his job as cameraman for Nineveh Al-Ghad Television after receiving threats that he would be killed if he continued in his line of work. He was shot dead on 24 November by unidentified gunmen near his home in the north of Mosul.
“Intimidation and violence are being used to prevent the Iraqi public from receiving news. It is therefore urgent that the authorities do all they can to bring the perpetrators of Alaa Edwar’s murder to justice,” said Ms. Bokova.
According to UNESCO, 23 journalists, including Mr. Edwar, have been killed in Iraq over the past five years. All are remembered on the dedicated webpage, UNESCO Condemns Killing of Journalists.