UNESCO slams murders of journalists in Pakistan, Somalia

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United Nations, May 22 (ANI): The head of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the recent killings of journalists in Pakistan and Somalia, while underscoring the necessity of press freedom.

"No society can allow violence to muzzle journalists while aspiring to uphold human rights and liberties, democracy and rule of law," The Nation quoted UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement.

Journalists, she stressed, are committed to report the truth as they see it.

"No effort must be spared to bring to justice those who seek to deprive us of our right to know what journalists have to say, and to agree or disagree with it," Bokova said.

On the killing of veteran Somali radio journalist, Sheikh Nur Abkey earlier this month, Bokova said: "His brutal killing is a heinous crime against a brave journalist and against Somali society as a whole."

"Nothing good will come to the people of Somalia from those seeking to deprive citizens of the right to know and journalists of the basic human right of freedom of expression," she continued.

She said: "Those working for the oppression of Somalia must be thwarted."

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-governmental organization (NGO), since 1993, 33 journalists have been killed in Somalia, which has had not had a functioning central government in nearly two decades.

In March, a UNESCO report found that rising numbers of journalists are being killed worldwide, mostly in countries that are at peace, and called for an end to impunity in the murders of media professionals.

Last year set a new record, with 77 murders reported by the agency. The high number is due in part to the murder of some 30 journalists in one day during an ambush in the Philippines on 23 November 2009, the publication said. (ANI)

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