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United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
4 July 2007
UNESCO Director-General expresses relief over liberation of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston
“I am relieved and delighted that Alan Johnston has finally been freed, safe and sound,” Mr Matsuura said. “He and his family have displayed remarkable courage during this terrible ordeal. It is critically important that journalists can operate in such an environment without fear for their security. I congratulate all those who advocated for and were finally able to secure his release.”
“Alan Johnston was held captive longer than any other journalist abducted in Gaza. It is now up to Palestinian authorities to see that those responsible are located and swiftly brought to justice,” concluded the Director-General.
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…”