Last Updated: Thursday, 18 December 2014, 08:56 GMT

UNESCO chief deplores killing of Syrian television cameraman, calls for release of kidnapped reporters

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 24 October 2012
Cite as UN News Service, UNESCO chief deplores killing of Syrian television cameraman, calls for release of kidnapped reporters, 24 October 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/508e6df52.html [accessed 18 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today deplored the fatal shooting that killed a Syrian television cameraman in the eastern city of Deir Al-Zour, and called for the release of journalists that have reportedly been kidnapped.

"I condemn the killing of Mohammed al-Ashram," the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, said in a news release. "Journalists must be allowed to carry out their professional duties and I once again call on all the parties involved in the Syrian conflict to respect the civilian status of reporters and media workers."

Mohammed al-Ashram, who worked for the Syrian television broadcaster Al-Ikhbariya, was reportedly shot and killed on 10 October while covering clashes between Syrian Government forces and opposition forces.

"The number of casualties among professional and citizen journalists in Syria is truly alarming and I urge the parties concerned to do all in their power to improve their safety and respect the basic human right of freedom of expression," Ms. Bokova added.

She also expressed concern over reports from the Committee to Protect Journalists that several international reporters have gone missing in Syria in recent weeks and are presumed to have been kidnapped, and called on all concerned parties "to do everything they can to secure their return."

The killing of Mr. al-Ashr brings to 32 the number of journalists killed in Syria this year alone, according to UNESCO.

Overall, more than 20,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in Middle Eastern country since the uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began some 20 months ago. A further 2.5 million Syrians urgently need humanitarian aid, and over 340,000 have crossed the border to Syria's neighbouring countries, according to UN estimates.

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