With the ongoing violence engulfing Syria, the head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today voiced grave concern over the death of 28 local and international journalists this year in Syria.
The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova has urged the authorities to respect journalists’ fundamental rights to freedom of expression and free those detained over issues related to these rights.
“Journalists must be able to perform their duties and keep the public informed without fearing for their lives.” -Ms. Bokova
Earlier this week, Ms. Bokova condemned the killing of a Syrian journalist last month.
Reports say Musab Mohamed Said Al-Oudaallah, who is reported to have been killed in his home in the Syrian capital of Damascus on 22nd August.
“Once again, I call on all those fighting in Syria to respect the civilian status of reporters and the basic human right of freedom of expression.” -Ms. Bokova
Earlier this year, French journalist Gilles Jacquier of France 2 television became the first Western reporter to be killed in 10 months of unrest in the country.
The head of the United Nations agency defending press freedom has deplored the recent killing in Syria of French television reporter and called on authorities to ensure the safety of journalists working in the country.
According to media reports at least nine people, including French journalist Mr. Jacquier, were killed and several more were wounded in an explosion that struck a government-organised media trip to Homs, an opposition stronghold.
The news of the deaths came just hours after Assad appeared at a rally in Damascus to show popular support and a government in control.
The uprising in Syria is part of a broader popular protest movement that has engulfed North Africa and the Middle East this year and led to the toppling of long-term regimes in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.