IFJ Says Iraqi Journalism is “Deadly Profession” as Media Death Toll Reaches 160

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the targeted killing of an Iraqi journalist and her driver who were the latest victims of the country’s spiralling violence and increasingly dangerous atmosphere for media workers.

Earlier today gunmen in a car shot and killed Fadia Mohammed Abid, a journalist for local daily independent newspaper Al-Masar, and her driver in the Tahrir neighbourhood of east Mosul as they were on the way to the office, AFP reported.

Their deaths bring to 160 the number of media workers killed in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003.

This is the second attack on a journalist this week. Eight media workers have been killed in the last month.

“These brazen attacks on journalists in Iraq are an outrage,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “Journalists are being killed with impunity in broad daylight in public places and in their homes. Journalism has become a deadly profession in Iraq and each new attack is not only an attack on an individual but on press freedom as well."

On Monday, Mohammed al-Ban, an employee of Sharqiya, a Sunni-owned satellite channel which is the main competitor of state-run Iraqiya television, was killied outside his Mosul home, AFP said.

On 1 November, Ahmed Al-Rasheed, a former reporter of Addyar satellite channel and recently employed as a reporter by Al-Sharqia television channel, was shot dead by unknown militants.

On 29 October, Sherin Hamid, an Iraqi state television presenter and her driver, Annas Kassim Nejm, were found dead in Baghdad, a day after they were abducted by unknown gunmen. Sherin Hamid had hosted programmes on the al-Iraqiya station aimed at Iraq's Kurdish and Christian minorities, an al-Iraqiya spokesman said. The programmes could have made Hamid a target of either Sunni insurgents or Shia militias. The two bodies were found in the Haifa Street district close to where they had been abducted, police said.

On 26 October, unidentified gunmen shot Saed Mahdi Shalash and his wife in their home in the Al Ameriya area west of Baghdad. Shalash worked for the Rayat Al Arab newspaper. He had a 20-year career as a journalist working for the Iraqi News Agency. He left the agency in 2003, the IJS said.

The IFJ says that Iraqi journalists risk being killed by any number of groups as the security situation there slides out of control. These threats make critical or investigative reporting impossible. The daily attacks on media constitute a terrible assault on press freedom and democracy in Iraq. The IFJ is calling on the Iraqi government and the US military to protect journalists and freedom of the press in Iraq.

For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 100 countries worldwide