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September 9, 10

NEWS / Senior UN official speaks out against murder of Iraqi television presenter

9 September 2010 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with safeguarding press freedom today condemned the murder of a prominent Iraqi anchorman, calling the frequency of attacks against media professionals in the country “unacceptable.”

Riad al-Saray who presented religious and political programmes for the State broadcaster al-Iraqiya TV, was gunned down on Tuesday as he was driving in the capital, Baghdad.

“Such attacks on journalists are attack son the fundamental right of freedom of expression and on society as a whole,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said.

“I call on the Iraqi Government to make every effort to bring the culprits to justice and to take measures to improve the safety of media professionals.”

According to the non-governmental organization (NGO) Reporters without Borders, Mr. Saray, 35, is the 15th al-Iraqiya journalist to have been killed since the end of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

In the NGO’s latest report on the risks faced by media professionals working in Iraq, 230 journalists and media staff have been killed in the country since March 2003.




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