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UNESCO - French Reporter, Translator Missing, Iraq

UNESCO Calls For Release Of French Reporter, Translator Missing In Iraq

In its latest intervention in defence of journalists, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has made an urgent plea for the release of a French reporter and her translator who have been missing in Iraq since early last month, deploring the lack of security for media workers in the country.

Florence Aubenas, a reporter for French daily newspaper Libération, and her Iraqi translator Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi were last seen in Ms. Aubenas' hotel in Baghdad on 5 January. They are believed to have been kidnapped, but the motives, whether political or financial, have not been ascertained.

"I wish to pay tribute to the courage of journalists, both Iraqis and foreigners, who, like Florence Aubenas, take considerable risks to keep the world informed," <"http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=15006&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
">UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura <"http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=24902&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html">said.

"I also wish to plead with all groups in the country to stop targeting journalists, whether for political or financial motives. The independence and freedom of the media must be respected if the people of Iraq are to be able take charge of their destiny and make informed choices," he added.

"I deplore the lack of security in which media workers have to exercise their professional duties in Iraq and call on all the responsible authorities to respect the legitimate rights of journalists and their teams to carry out their important work."

Mr. Matsuura has issued frequent denunciations in recent years over the murder of and attacks on journalists around the world. UNESCO's mandate includes the defence of freedom of expression and press freedom.


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