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Unesco Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Iraq


New York, Apr 27 2005 11:00AM

Describing the number of media workers killed, injured or kidnapped in Iraq as “shocking,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has called for measures to improve the safety of journalists after a new attack brought the death toll to a reported 55 in the last two years.

“Journalists working in Iraq have shown impressive courage in carrying out their professional duty to collect and disseminate information,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said after the shooting death of a cameraman and the wounding of another.

“I call on the authorities and on all the warring factions in Iraq to respect the safety of journalists. The public’s right to continue receiving information is crucial for the exercise of their democratic rights,” he added.

According to the non-governmental organization (NGO) Reporters without Borders, 55 journalists and media assistants have been killed in Iraq since the start of fighting with the United States-led invasion in the country in March 2003.

In the latest case, Saleh Ibrahim and Mohammed Ibrahim, who both worked for the Associated Press news agency, were injured by unidentified gunmen as they arrived at the scene of an explosion in Mosul, northern Iraq, on 23 April. Saleh Ibrahim died shortly after reaching hospital while Mohammed Ibrahim was treated for shrapnel wounds in the head.

Mr. Matsuura’s statement was the latest in a long series of condemnations he has issued recently over attacks on journalists around the world. UNESCO’s mandate includes the defence of freedom of expression and press freedom.

2005-04-27 00:00:00.000

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