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Unesco Chief Condemns Wave Of Killings

Unesco Chief Condemns Wave Of Killings Of Journalists In Iraq

The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO>(<"">UNESCO) today condemned the recent murders of several journalists in Iraq, calling the attacks an “alarming campaign against freedom of the press in the country.

“I am deeply concerned about the unrelenting violence against journalists and media workers in Iraq,” said Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura in a statement released in Paris. He urged those rebuilding the country to work with media organizations to devise measures that “make respect for the fundamental human right of freedom of ῥxpression an absolute priority.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 77 journalists and 27 media support workers have been killed in Iraq since the war began there in 2003.

In this latest wave of violence, unidentified gunmen shot Mohammad Abbas Mohammad, 28, as he was on his way to work in western Baghdad on 7 August. Mr. Mohammed, an editor for the Al-Bayinnah Al-Jadida newspaper, had been highly critical of politicians and officials. He had received several death threats in connection with his work, the CPJ said.

Later that same day, police found the bullet-riddled body of freelance journalist Ismail Amin Ali, 30, in eastern Baghdad. Mr. Ali, a well-known columnist for several papers, may have been targeted because he had criticized the security forces, the CPJ said.

Adel Najee al-Mansouri, 34, a correspondent for the Iranian satellite channel Al-Alam, was shot by unidentified gunmen on 29 July as he was driving in western Baghdad, according to the CPJ.

Unidentified attackers shot Riyad Muhammad Ali, a reporter for the local weekly Talafar al-Yawm, in Mosul on 30 July, the CPJ said. He was the second journalist from the weekly to be murdered.

As part of UNESCO’s continuing campaign to spotlight such threats to freedom of the press worldwide, Mr. Matsuura has in recent weeks issued condemnations of the killings of journalists in China, Russia and Brazil.


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