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Journalists Are Working In Growing Insecurity

Journalists Are Working In Growing Insecurity - UNESCO

After a flurry of denunciations of individual murders, attacks and kidnappings of journalists, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has voiced increasing concern at the growing insecurity in which journalists in general exercise their profession.

“Attacks targeting journalists are blows against democracy, which depends largely on the media’s ability to gather information and communicate it to the public,” UNESCO Director-General Koachiro Matsuura said in a statement. “All too often, a journalist’s mission is carried out in intolerable security conditions.”

He then cited a slew of recent incidents, including an attack against an entire group of journalists in Wana, Pakistan, when assailants machine-gunned a minibus in which several journalists were travelling, killing Amir Nawab Khan of the Associated Press Television News and The Frontier Post and Allah Noor Wazir of Khyber TV in Peshawar, the Pakistani daily The Nation and the German news agency DPA.

Those injured were Anwar Shakir who worked in Wana for Agence France Presse and Zardad Khan from Al-Jazeera television.

“No society can function in a just and satisfactory manner if it betrays basic democratic principles to this degree,” Mr. Matsuura said, calling it “an act of terrorism, aimed at forcing rare observers to flee.”

He also noted the death of Iraqi journalist Abdel Hussein Khazaal who was killed with his three-year-old son last week in Basra, southern Iraq. “When journalists are targeted, it is an attack on freedom of expression, a right guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” he said.

Mr. Matsuura condemned, too, the murder of Kate Peyton of the BBC, shot down last week outside her hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, and evoked the kidnappings in Iraq of Guiana Serena of Italy and Florence Augends of France and her Iraqi interpreter Hussein Hanoi as more dramatic examples of the media’s perilous working conditions.

UNESCO’s mandate includes the defence of freedom of expression and press freedom.

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