Journalists Face Treacherous Working Conditions in Iraq

May 17th, 2006 - by admin

Report / IRIN – 2006-05-17 23:31:35

BAGHDAD (May 10, 2006) — The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has said that the killing of two Iraqi media workers whose bodies were recently discovered south of Baghdad “reflects the continuing dangers for journalists working in Iraq.”

Laith al-Dulaimi, a reporter for the privately-owned TV station Al-Nahrain, and Muazaz Ahmed Barood, a telephone operator for the station, were kidnapped on 7 May by men disguised as police officers, according to Al-Nahrain General Manager Abdulkarim al-Mehdawi. Their bodies were discovered on Monday in the al-Wihda area, some 32 km south of the capital. Both men, in their late 20s, were shot in the chest, al-Mehdawi said.

“We’re saddened by the loss of our colleagues… who were trying to get home after a long shift at the TV station,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “Their senseless murder reflects the continuing dangers for journalists in Iraq.”

Al-Dulaimi became a reporter for Al-Nahrain four months ago, while Barood had been working at the station since its establishment a year and a half ago. Al-Mehdawi told CPJ that neither the station nor the journalists had received any previous threats and that the motive behind the killings remained unclear.

On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Nouri al-Maliki extended his condolences to Al-Nahrain TV personnel and the families of the deceased, vowing that his government would put an end to the activities of those “who adopt evil acts for revenge or money.” “I’ve personally decided to hold the security dossier to protect journalists, woman and children from kidnapping and killing,” al-Maliki said at a press conference in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone.

The killing of the Al-Nahrain employees came in the wake of the murders last week of four other media workers. On 5 May journalist Abdel-Majid al-Muhammadawi was killed as was the correspondent of the Al-Baghdadiya TV channel Su’ud Muzahim al-Hadithi, who was kidnapped and tortured before being murdered. On 7 May, technician Ismail Muhammad Khalaf died in an explosion that targeted the Al-Sabah newspaper and on the same day a newspaper photographer, Abdel-Shaker Al-Dalimy, was killed in Basra, in the south of the country.

According to the CPJ, deliberate killings have overtaken accidental crossfire as the leading cause of work-related death among journalists and media-support workers in Iraq. The research findings, compiled to coincide with the conflict’s third anniversary, show that 69 journalists and 25 media-support workers have been killed since the 2003 US-led invasion of the country, making it the deadliest conflict for the press in recent history.

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