27 September 2007The head of the United Nations body mandated to protect press freedom today condemned the latest murder of a journalist in Iraq, calling it “an unacceptable attack on the human rights of the people” in a country where over 150 media workers are reported to have been killed since the United States-led invasion in 2003. Jawad al-Daami, a well-known poet who worked on cultural and social programmes for the independent Cairo-based television channel Al-Baghdadia in Baghdad, was shot in the head in the south-western neighbourhood of Al-Qadissiya on Sunday. “There can be no excuse for the killing of writers and poets, and I call on the authorities of Iraq to do all in their power to stem this intolerable blood-letting,” UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement. Mr. al-Daami, who had gone to Baghdad to attend a cultural conference, is the second employee of the channel to be killed in Iraq. So’oud Muzahim al-Shoumari, an Al-Baghdadia correspondent, was found dead in Baghdad’s southern district of Doura in April 2006, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The CPJ says that at least 112 journalists, not including Mr. al-Daami, and 40 media support staffers have been killed in Iraq since March 2003. Eighty-five percent of those killed were Iraqis. Mr. Matsuura has issued frequent condemnations of the murder of journalists around the world.

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