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UNESCO Director General condemns murders of three Pakistani journalists


UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today condemned the murder of three Pakistani journalists in two separate incidents on 6 December. Altaf Chandio was shot dead in Sindh Province, Pakistan. Abdul Wahab and Pervez Khan were killed during a suicide bombing in the north-west tribal area.

“The killing of Altaf Chandio, Abdul Wahab and Pervez Khan is a denial of freedom of expression, a fundamental right that is a cornerstone of a democratic society,” said Ms Bokova. “The fact three journalists have lost their lives in two separate incidents on the same day underlines the grave dangers facing journalists in Pakistan. I call on the authorities to do their utmost to bring the perpetrators to justice, to show that impunity will not be tolerated in Pakistan.”

Altaf Chandio was the president of the Mirpur Khas press club in Sindh and the bureau chief of the private Sindhi language channel, AWAZ (voice). According to media reports, he was shot outside his house by unidentified gunmen.

Abdul Wahab, who was a journalist for Express News, and Pervez Khan, a journalist with WAQT TV, were inside a government building in Ghalanai, a town in the Federally Administered Tribal Area when a suicide bomber struck. They both perished in a double blast. A local newspaper reported that an extremist group claimed responsibility for the bombings.

According to the International Federation of Journalists, 14 journalists have been killed in Pakistan in 2010, including Altaf Chandio, Abdul Wahab and Pervez Khan.

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 the Organization is requested 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…”


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