Head of UN agency defending press freedom denounces murder of Egyptian journalist

Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova. Photo: UNESCO/Danica Bijeljac

1 April 2014 – The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today denounced the recent murder of Egyptian journalist Mayada Ashraf and called on the Government to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“I count on the Government to do everything possible to shed light on this crime and bring the authors to justice,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a news release.

“Journalists must be able to do their job without fearing for their lives. This is key for upholding the right to freedom of expression, one of the pillars of democratic society.”

Ms. Ashraf, 22, worked for the Egyptian daily Al-Dustour. According to the non-governmental organization Committee for the Protection of Journalists, she was shot in the head while covering a clash between Egyptian police and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the capital, Cairo, on 28 March.

Recent months have witnessed growing threats and attacks on members of the media in Egypt, with the UN human rights office (OHCHR) urging the authorities to investigate reports of violence against them and to promptly release all journalists imprisoned for carrying out their legitimate activities.

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