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Guinean Journalists Killed Raising Awareness on Ebola

UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing of Guinean Journalists Raising Awareness About Ebola

A team of volunteers in Gbaneh Bana Village, Port Loko District, Sierra Leone, discussing Ebola prevention with a family. Photo: WHO/S. Gborie

27 September 2014 – The head of the United Nations agency mandated to defend press freedom today deplored the deaths of three journalists killed while reporting on an Ebola aid mission in south-eastern Guinea.

“I condemn the killing of Facély Camara, Molou Chérif and Sidiki Sidibé,” said Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in a statement.

On 16 September, Facély Camara, a reporter for Liberté FM, a private radio station in Guinea, Molou Chérif, a technician at the N'Zérékoré province rural radio station, and his colleague, Sidiki Sidibé, were in the N'Zérékoré district accompanying a five-member team of experts informing people about the virus and how to prevent its spread. The bodies of all eight victims were found on 18 September in the village of Womé.

Ms. Bokova called on the local authorities in Guinea to fully investigate the team's killing and protect aid and media professionals working to raise awareness and educate people about the deadly Ebola virus – a critical step in preventing the spread of the disease which has already sickened more than 6,500 and killed more than 3,000 across West Africa.

“With the virus spreading as it is, the role of the media in providing populations with up to date and relevant information is more important than ever,” Ms. Bokova continued.

“This crime must not be left unpunished. Journalists must be able to continue their vital work.”

The UN has recently amplified its response to the Ebola crisis with the deployment of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) which will be based in Accra, Ghana, and have offices in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – the three countries most impacted by the disease. The Head of UNMEER, Anthony Banbury, is scheduled to begin work in Ghana early next week.

ENDS

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