The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom has condemned the murders of four journalists that took place over the past week and called on national authorities to do everything within their power to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Afghan journalist Sayed Hamid Noori, Angolan journalist Alberto Graves Chakussanga, and Iraqi journalists Safaa al-Khayat and Riad al-Saray were all killed between 5 and 8 September.
The wave of journalist killings we have seen in recent days is cause for deep concern and must stand condemned, " said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The work of media professionals is vital for the fundamental right of freedom of expression, " she stated in a news release issued on Friday. The defence of this right is all the more important in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq where conflict has wrought so much damage to the social fabric of the nation.
I trust the authorities will do their utmost in each of the cases to investigate the crime and bring the culprits to justice, " she added.
Mr. Noori, a well-known former news anchor of Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), was stabbed to death on 5 September in Kabul. He had become a spokesman for the speaker of the Afghan Parliament after leaving RTA but continued to be a committed political journalist, according to the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Angolan journalist Alberto Graves Chakussanga was shot dead on 5 September at his home in Luanda`s Viana district. He had presented a weekly, Umbundu-language news call-in programme on private Radio Despertar.
Prominent Iraqi television anchorman Riad al-Saray was shot dead on 7 September in Baghdad. Mr. Saray presented religious and political programmes for al-Iraqiya TV, the state broadcaster. RSF said he is the 15th al-Iraqiya journalist to be killed since the end of Saddam Hussein`s regime.
Fellow Iraqi journalist Safaa al-Khayat was killed by gunmen in the northern city of Mosul on 8 September. He was reportedly shot dead as he was leaving his house to go to work at al-Mosuliyah television, a privately-owned provincial station where he presented a religious programme entitled Our Mosques. "
Ms. Bokova has condemned the killings of 36 journalists and media workers so far this year.