Killing of Iraqi journalist must not go unpunished, says UNESCO chief

Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO

4 April 2011 – The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the killing of a young Iraqi journalist, stressing that the attack must not go unpunished.

Sabah al-Bazee was a 30-year-old freelance journalist who worked for several media outlets, including Reuters and CNN. He was among 20 people killed on 29 March when gunmen attacked the provincial government building in the city of Tikrit.

“The vicious attack that took his life, and many others as well, is an attack against the whole of Iraqi society and must not go unpunished,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a news release.

“Free and independent information, the basis of open informed debate, is essential for the reconstruction of Iraq where all too many journalists have been paying with their lives to keep civil society at home and abroad informed,” she added.

“I encourage the authorities in Iraq to do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Mr. al-Bazee’s death follows the murder of another Iraqi freelance reporter in February. Hilal al-Ahmadi, who was well known for his articles on corruption in the country, was shot as he headed to work in the northern city of Mosul.

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