French journalist Gilles Jacquier of France 2 television became on Wednesday 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 today 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 on Wednesday to show popular support and a government in control.
The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova urged the Syrian authorities to investigate the killing and ensure safer working conditions for journalists in the country.
“It is essential that the authorities investigate this serious attack on freedom of expression and freedom of information.” -Ms. Bokova
More than 5,000 people have now died since the start of the public uprising in Syria.
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.