UNESCO Chief Condemns Murder of Egyptian Journalist

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–10 February 2011 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today condemned the recent murder of Egyptian journalist Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud, who was shot while covering the protests that began late last month in the capital, Cairo.

Mr. Mahmoud, 36, was covering the demonstrations for the newspaper Al-Taawun, according to a news release issued by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

He was shot in the head on 29 January while taking photographs of the protesters from the balcony of his apartment, located near Tahrir Square, the centre of the demonstrations. He died from his wounds six days later.

“Violence against journalists represents an attack on the basic right of freedom of expression and therefore a direct threat to democracy,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

“Media professionals must be able to work in safety in order to nurture free and independent debate. I count on the Egyptian authorities to do all they can to shed light on this murder and bring the culprits to justice,” she stated.

UNESCO voiced concern about the situation of medial professionals who have been covering the protests in Egypt. They have reportedly been assaulted and their equipment confiscated, and some have been arrested.

Ms. Bokova called on Egypt to respect the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of information as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.