UNESCO chief condemns murder of journalists in separate incidents in East Africa


The head of the United Nations agency mandated to promote freedom of expression and the safety of media workers worldwide has today condemned the murder of two journalists, a Somalian and a Kenyan, and urged an investigation into the two separate incidents.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), voiced deep concern for the safety of journalists following the murder of Somalian journalist Daud Ali Omar and his wife, Hawo Abdi Aden, in the city of Baidoa on 29 April.

“I condemn the murder of Daud Ali Omar and of his wife,” Ms. Bokova said.

“Somali journalists have been paying an unacceptably high price for trying to keep the people of Somalia informed.”

“It is essential that the authorities do all in their power to improve the safety of journalists. This means that they cannot allow such horrific crimes to go unpunished,” she stressed.

Mr. Daud, 35, was a producer for the local, privately owned station Radio Baidoa.

Ms. Bokova also urged an investigation into the 30 April killing of Kenyan newspaper publisher John Kituyi, callingon Kenyan authorities to shed light into his murder.

“I condemn the murder of John Kituyi,” the Director-General said. “It is important that the Kenyan authorities conduct a thorough investigation into this crime. The freedom to produce, disseminate and receive news and information from free, diverse and independent media hinges on States’ commitment to ensure that media workers can carry out their professional duties without fear of violence and reprisal. This crime should not go unpunished.”

Mr. Kituyi was the owner and editor of the Mirror Weekly, a regional newspaper he founded in the town of Eldoret in the west of Kenya ten years ago.

The UNESCO’s Director-General issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.”

These statements are posted on a webpage condemning the killing of journalists.