Continued killing of journalists is undermining free flow of information, UN warns

Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO

18 December 2013 – The head of the United Nations agency entrusted with upholding press freedom pushed on with her campaign to secure the safety of journalists today, condemning the killing of media workers in Syria and Iraq.

“Violence against media workers undermines the ability of journalists to carry out their work freely as well as the right of citizens to receive the independent information they need,” UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ((UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement.

Freelance Iraqi cameraman Yasser Faysal Al-Joumaili, 35, who often worked for Al-Jazeera International TV and Reuters news agency, was reportedly abducted and killed by members of a radical group in northern Syria earlier this month.

Kawa Ahmed Germyani in Kalar, 32, editor of the magazine Rayal and a correspondent for the Awene newspaper in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, was shot by unidentified gunmen in his home in Kalar, on 5 December after reportedly receiving death threats in connection with his work.

Indian journalist Sai Reddy, a reporter for the Hindi-language newspaper Deshbandhu, died on the way to hospital after he was beaten and stabbed in the market of Basaguda village in the central state of Chhattisgarh on 6 December.

Ms. Bokova has so far this year condemned the killings of eight journalists in Iraq, seven in Syria, and four in India, as well as others in various countries around the world.

Just two days ago she called on the Philippines’ authorities to investigate the separate murders of three journalists in the southern region of Mindanao.

“Too many professional and citizen journalists are losing their lives in the conflict in Syria, often deliberately targeted by the various factions involved,” she said in her statement today on that war-torn country. “The circumstances of freelance journalists are a cause of particular concern, as they are often less well trained to deal with the dangers they face than are staff reporters.”

In her statements on Iraq and India she called on the authorities to investigate the crimes.


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