UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The head of the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO sharply rebuked NATO on Monday for its July 30 air strikes against Libyan state television that killed several people and wounded nearly a dozen.
“I deplore the NATO strike on Al-Jamahiriya and its installations,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement.
“Media outlets should not be targeted in military actions,” she said. “U.N. Security Council Resolution 1738 (2006) condemns acts of violence against journalists and media personnel in conflict situations.”
Paris-based UNESCO is the U.N. agency that oversees issues related to freedom of expression and press freedom.
NATO said at the time it bombed three ground-based satellite transmission dishes in Tripoli to silence “terror broadcasts” on state television by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during an uprising against his rule that has prompted a violent reaction from his forces.
Bokova said the NATO strikes were “contrary to the principles of the Geneva Conventions,” which she said have established the civilian status of journalists in times of war, even when they engage in propaganda. She said the NATO strikes killed three media workers and wounded 21 people.
“Silencing the media is never a solution,” she said. “Fostering independent and pluralistic media is the only way to enable people to form their own opinion.”
NATO began launching air strikes against Gaddafi’s forces in March on the basis of a Security Council resolution that authorized U.N. member states to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians short of occupying the country.