UN agency head condemns Indian scribe's killing

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United Nations, May 22 (UNI) UNESCO head Koichiro Matsuura has denounced the killing of an Indian journalist, who died while covering an assignment in Jammu and Kashmir.

''The safety of journalists is a subject of paramount concern in any democracy,'' the UN headquarters in New York quoted Mr Matsuura as saying.

Ashok Sodhi, a reporter with a quarter century experience, died of bullet wounds suffered while working on an assignment in Samba district, south of Jammu. He worked for the Daily Excelsior, a local newspaper there.

The Paris-based UN agency has been mandated to defend freedom of the press and freedom of expression. ''It is essential that reporters be able to do their work and inform the public, even in areas of conflict,'' the UNESCO chief said, adding their status as civilians must be respected.

UNI XC SYU KN1049

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