UNESCO chief calls on Egyptian authorities to investigate death of three journalists

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Photo: UNESCO/Ania Freindorf

26 August 2013 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today denounced the deaths of three Egyptian journalists and called for a thorough investigation into these incidents.

“I deplore the deaths of Ahmed Abdel Gawad, Mosab Al-Shami and Tamer Abdel Raouf,” said the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova., calling on Egyptian authorities “to do everything possible to ensure the security of media workers.”

Ms. Bokova expressed her distress and concern over the violence directed against the media in Egypt, where five media professionals have been killed while carrying out their duties in the span of a few days.

According to Reporters Without Borders, Mr. Gawad, a reporter for the Egyptian daily Al-Akhbar, and Mr. Al-Shami, a photojournalist for Rassd News Network, were killed on 14 August while covering demonstrations in the capital, Cairo. Both died from gunshot injuries.

Mr. Raouf was the regional director of Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper. He was shot dead at a vehicle checkpoint in Damanhur, in the Beheira Governorate in northern Egypt, on 19 August. Another journalist in the car, Hamed Al-Barbari, was injured.

Ms. Bokova also condemned today the murder of Pakistani journalist Haji Abdul Razzak and Guatemalan journalist Carlos Alberto Orellana Chávez.

Mr. Razzak, 35, was a reporter for the Urdu-language newspaper Daily Tawar. His mutilated body was found in the city of Karachi last Wednesday. He had been reported missing since 24 March.

A broadcast journalist in Guatemala, Mr. Orellana Chávez hosted a news programme on Optimo 23 cable television after having directed Radio Victoria for over 25 years. According to Reporters Without Borders, he was shot down as he was driving to work some 50 kilometres from Mazatenango, the provincial capital of Suchitepequez, in the south of the country.

Ms. Bokova called on Pakistani and Guatemalan authorities “to do all in their power” to investigate the killings and shed light on these heinous crimes.


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