The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has called on authorities to investigate the murder of Pakistani journalist Abdul Hameed Hayatan, whose body was found with gunshot wounds on 18 November outside of Turbat, in western Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.“I condemn the murder of Abdul Hameed Hayatan,” said Ms Bokova. “An act of violence on a journalist is not only a crime against the individual victim. It also represents an attack on freedom of expression, which is a fundamental right and a cornerstone of democratic society. I call on the authorities in Pakistan to spare no effort in investigating this murder and bringing the culprits to justice.”
Known also as Lala Hameed Baloch, Hameed, 25, was found dead in a canal alongside his friend Hamid Ismail after they disappeared from their home town of Gwadar, in Baluchistan’s west, on October 25, according to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ). Hameed reported for the Urdu-language Daily Intikhab, and worked as a stringer for several other news outlets.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) notes that Hameed’s murder brings to 11 the total number of reported deaths of media workers in Pakistan this year. Four of these deaths have been in Baluchistan.
UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”