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UNESCO Deplores Latest Afghan Journalist Killing

UNESCO deplores latest killing of Afghan journalist

12 June 2008 - The United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today condemned the recent assassination of an Afghan journalist working in the south of the strife-torn country.

Abdul Samad Rohani, a Pashto service reporter for the BBC World Service in Helmand province, was reportedly abducted last Saturday, a day before his body was discovered in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

He is the fourth journalist to have been murdered in Afghanistan in the past year, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said in a statement that improving the safety of journalists working in Afghanistan remains a priority for the agency.

"Using violence to muzzle journalists is an unacceptable breach of the basic human right of freedom of expression and of the right of members of the public to make informed decisions about their lives and their future," he said, adding that "freedom of expression is essential for building sustainable democracy."

His statement echoes similar remarks from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which voiced its sadness at the killing of Mr. Rohani on Monday.

Mr. Matsuura has also written to the BBC - which lost another reporter last weekend, Nasteh Dahir Farah, who was killed in Kismayo, Somalia - expressing his support for their work.

ENDS

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