Deadly Week for Journalists in Iraq As Toll of Media Victims Nears 100

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the killing of a television technician in Mosul, the third media victim in the town over the past week and a shooting that brings to 99 the number of journalists and media staff killed in Iraq since the invasion of the country in March 2003.

“This has been another deadly week in the life of Iraqi media,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “These latest deaths only confirm that we are in the midst of an unprecedented assault on media freedom by so-called insurgents who have no respect for decency or democracy.”

Ahlam Youssef, an engineer working for al-Iraqiya television was shot on Wednesday while driving with her husband, who was also killed. Their son was seriously wounded in the attack.

Youssef 's murder follows the killing of Firas Maadidi, 36, bureau chief for As-Saffir and chief editor of the local daily Al-Masar, who was killed by unidentified gunmen in the city on Tuesday. A day earlier, the body of Hind Ismail, a 28-year-old reporter for As-Saffir, was found in a suburb of the town.

As-Saffir, based in Baghdad, is an independent newspaper which has criticized insurgent attacks against Iraqi civilians, calling them terrorist operations.

Al-Iraqiya has been increasingly targeted because of its ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. Insurgents in Mosul have killed at least three other employees of the station and its affiliates in 2005, and Al-Iraqiya offices have repeatedly come under mortar attack.

Last Monday, Fakher Haider, who had worked for over two years for the New York Times was found dead 3 km southwest of Basra with his hands bound and a single bullet wound to the head.

“These are clearly targeted killings which aim to censor local Iraqi journalists from reporting on democratic change in Iraq,” said White. “The international community must intervene now to support the Iraqi media”.

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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries