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July 26, 10

NEWS / Iraq: UN officials speak out against attack on Al-Arabiya television station

26 July 2010 – Top United Nations officials have strongly condemned the attacks targeting the offices of the regional satellite television channel Al-Arabiya in Baghdad, while urging Iraqi authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of media professionals.

Four employees were killed and two bystanders were wounded when a car bomb exploded this morning outside the television station, which had reportedly been targeted several times in the past.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Representative for Iraq, Ad Melkert, both condemned the attack.

“Journalists in Iraq have again turned out to be prime targets for insurgents and all parties should act to counter this impunity in the targeting and killing of journalists,” said Mr. Melkert, who is head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

“The attack of this morning shows once more that an immediate response is needed through an effective agreement on the formation of a new government that will be dedicated to the protection of citizens and freedom of the press.”

The head of the UN agency tasked with defending press freedom also condemned the attack, and stressed that journalists must be able to go about their work freely, without fearing for their lives.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), called on the Iraqi authorities to do everything within their ability to ensure that the perpetrators of the attack are brought to justice.




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