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United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
12 January 2009
Director-General deplores attacks on media installations in Gaza and condemns killing of journalist Basel Faraj
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, deplored attacks on media installations in Gaza and condemned the killing of Palestinian journalist Basel Faraj who died on the line of duty on 6 January.
The Director-General recalled
UN Security Council resolution 1738
of 23 December 2006, which forbids attacks against journalists and media installations. Referring to the General Assembly resolution 63/100 A-B of 5 December 2008, which calls upon Member States to reaffirm their commitment to the principles of freedom of the press and freedom of information and emphasizes the importance of ensuring diversity of sources and free access to information, Mr Matsuura called on the Israeli authorities to allow local and international media professionals to report on events in the area.
Condemning the killing of journalist Basel Faraj, the Director-General stated: “Basel Faraj has paid for his dedication to his profession with his life.” He further highlighted the importance of respecting the right of journalists to exercise their professional duties and keep the world informed about what is taking place in Gaza.
Basel Faraj worked as a cameraman for the Algerian TV network ENTV and for the Palestine Broadcast Production Company. He died on 6 January from wounds sustained during an Israeli air strike on 27 December.
UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this purpose the Organization is required to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”