Libya: Photojournalist shot dead by Islamic State while documenting on the front lines

Photojournalist and cameraman Abdelqadir Fassouk was shot dead on 21 July in Libya while on assignment. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the killing of the young photojournalist and has demanded a swift investigation into his killing.

According to media reports, Abdelqadir Fassouk, the 28-year-old correspondent for Arraed television, was killed whilst filming forces allied with the government as they circled Islamic state bases on the outskirts of the coastal city Sirte. He was covering a young fighter allied with the government when he received a shot to the head from the jihadist group Islamic state (ISIS), killing him instantly.

ISIS expanded into Libya during the political turmoil that occurred after Gaddafi was removed from power in 2011. In the past five years, Libya has entered a state of civil war, forcing thousands of civilians into exile. ISIS took Sirte last year and has turned it into its North African stronghold in order to control Libya’s coastline.

Only a day before his murder, Fassouk had complained to the Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press that journalists covering the war against ISIS lacked safety equipment and faced serious risks. Fassouk had previously been placed in life threatening situations while filming on the front lines. In his short career Fassouk was shot in the neck and kidnapped during the 2012 Libyan elections. Despite the dangers of his profession, Fassouk insisted on filming on the front lines to ensure that the news of his region was accurately documented.

Fassouk is the second photojournalist killed in the past month, alongside freelance journalist Khaled al-Zintani, who was shot covering combat on June 24 in Benghazi.

Philippe Leruth, president of the IFJ, said: ‘These tragic deaths are a reminder that the safety of journalists while they undertake their work must be a priority. Farrouk and al-Zintani braved many dangers in order to comply with their duty to inform and thus endangered their lives, but no journalist should have to put their life at risk for the sake of the news. The IFJ calls for increased safety equipment for journalists in the region so that they may continue their essential work’.

Fassouk’s work has been published in the Associated Press and Time.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16

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