IFJ Condemns Growing levels of Violence against Journalists in Iraq

The International Federation

of Journalists today warned that violence against journalists in Iraq is once

again on the rise and has called for an investigation in two deaths of Iraqi


Iraqi Kurdish journalist Sardasht

Osman was kidnapped on 4 May and found dead two days later in the city of Mosul. His murder is

linked to reporting critical of figures in the Kurdish Regional Government. Last

week another journalist, Raheem Al-Shamry, died in an explosion in

Al-Hella city.

"These shocking events are a throw

back to the darkest days for journalism and democracy in Iraq," said

Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "We must not allow the situation to

deteriorate further and we urge the authorities to vigorously pursue those

responsible and bring them to justice."

According to media reports,

Osman who was a final year English language student and wrote for Ashtiname newspaper

in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, was abducted by

unidentified gunmen who bundled him in the car and drove away. Reports quoted

family sources as saying that he had received death threats following the

publication of an article in which he criticised a senior Kurdish politician.

His murder shocked the media

community which has enjoyed a period of relative calm after years of enduring

violent attacks. The killing of Raheem Al-Shamry, a journalist with Al-Fath newspaper, added further

concern. He died in an explosion at a factory in Al-Hella city which also

injured three other reporters.

The IFJ says these attacks have revived

the memories of violence against journalists during the Iraq war and subsequent

sectarian conflict which claimed over 250 lives of journalists and media personnel

since 2003.

"The fragile revival of professional

journalism is at risk from ruthless and powerful forces with much to lose in an

open and progressive society," added White. "It is time to stand up for

democratic values, underpinned by a  free

and safe press."

For more information

contact the IFJ at     +32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 125 countries worldwide