UNESCO director-general calls for improved safety of journalists

At least 42 journalists killed worldwide in 2010.

UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova has called for improved security of journalists and other media workers in areas of conflict and social unrest so that they can carry out their professional duties.

The call comes after the US-based non-governmental organisation, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), last week published a report stating that at least 42 journalists were killed worldwide in 2010.

Bokova said: "While the number of journalists killed in 2010 represents a decline from previous years, it nonetheless remains unacceptably high and underlines the violence that journalists confront on a daily basis."

Condemning the death of Iraqi television journalist Omar Rasim al-Qaysi, who was killed in a suicide bombing on 12 December, Bokova said journalists are paying an unacceptably high price for defending their basic right of freedom of expression in countries such as Iraq. She called on the governments of Iraq and other countries, where similar campaigns of violence are being waged, to work towards improving security conditions for journalists.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is mandated to defend freedom of expression and press freedom globally.