Director-General condemns killing of Lebanese media workers Hamza Al-Hajj Hassan, Mohamed Muntich and Halim Alouh in Syria

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The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today denounced the killing in Syria of three media workers from Lebanon’s Al-Manar television and voiced grave concern over the safety of journalists in the country.

“I condemn the killing of Hamza Al-Hajj Hassan, Mohamed Muntich and Halim Alouh,” the Director-General said. “I urge all the forces present in Syria to respect the civilian status of professional and citizen journalists. There can be no justification for the targeting of media workers, the eyes and ears of civil society, whose work is essential in any attempt to overcome conflict and heal its wounds.”

Al-Manar reporter Hamza Al-Hajj Hassan; cameraman Mohamed Muntich; and technician Halim Alouh were killed while covering clashes in Al-Maaloula, a town south of Damascus, on 14 April.

These deaths bring to five the number of’ killings in Syria condemned by the Director-General since January 2014.

Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at), +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the 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…”