UNESCO chief deplores murder of Somali radio journalist

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Photo: UNESCO

22 August 2013 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today denounced the murder of Ahmed Sharif, a Somali journalist killed in Mogadishu.

“I condemn the murder of Ahmed Sharif,” said the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. “He joins an already lengthy list of media professionals who have lost their life in Somalia.

Mr. Sharif, who worked for Mogadishu radio, was gunned down last Friday. He is the fifth journalist to have been killed this year in Somalia. Last year, 18 journalists were killed in direct or indirect attacks in the country.

“These criminal acts are a serious violation of the right to freedom of expression and press freedom, both of which are particularly important in a country seeking to rebuild after so many years of conflict,” Ms. Bokova said.

“It is essential that those responsible for this killing be brought to justice.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Somalia is one of the top 10 countries where crimes against journalists go unpunished. In addition, media workers risk not just death on a daily basis but also arbitrary arrests, as happened earlier this year when a reporter was accused of fabricating a rape story based on an interview which was never published.

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