Sunday, May 04, 2014

A Joint Message from SRSG Nickolay Mladenov and UNESCO Representative for Iraq Axel Plathe on World Press Freedom Day

This statement was issued yesterday:

A Joint Message from SRSG Nickolay Mladenov and UNESCO Representative for Iraq Axel Plathe on World Press Freedom Day

Baghdad, 3 May 2014 - Iraq together with the rest of the world today celebrate World Press Freedom Day. This year’s theme “Media Freedom for a Better Future” contains four themes, all of great relevance to Iraq: free media and their contribution to good governance; empowerment and eradication of poverty; the rule of law to ensure safety of journalists; and the sustainability and professionalism of journalism.

“I would like to extend my greetings to all journalists in Iraq who work tirelessly to uphold freedom of expression and the right to information. Many have lost their lives in defence of freedom of expression. I want to offer my condolences to their families. Regrettably, the number of media professionals suffering from violence, intimidation, harassment is steadily high. Too many cases of murders of journalists were never successfully prosecuted”, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov noted.

He added, “Despite all these challenges, I am encouraged to see a highly vibrant media environment in a country that is struggling with terrorism and violence. I pay tribute to all media professionals who continue promoting Iraq’s democratic transition and playing their role as a pillar of democracy and healthy governance.”

“Freedom of expression and its underpinning human rights remain extremely fragile in Iraq and must be actively defended. This is why we will continue to raise our voice to condemn attacks against media professionals in Iraq”, Mr. Axel Plathe said. “On this day, we call upon the government, media professionals and the Iraqi civil society to come up with a national response that guarantees the basic right of freedom of expression, and ensures the journalists’ safety and dignity”, he further stated.

“The UN family stands with the Iraqi media in their defence of freedom of expression and press freedom. We are ready to help improve current legislation on the rights to press freedom and freedom of expression. These rights are essential parts of democracy, transparency, accountability and the rule of law. They are vital for human dignity, social progress and inclusive development”, both Mladenov and Plathe said.