Baghdad a “Deathtrap for Journalism” Warns IFJ in Media Safety Alert after Kidnapping

The International Federation of Journalists today said Iraq and its major cities had become a “deathtrap for journalism” and said its affiliates and others journalists’ groups in the country would vigorously support efforts to find a US journalist kidnapped at the weekend.

“With more than 100 media deaths, hostage-taking on a regular basis and targeting of reporters, Baghdad has become a deathtrap for journalism,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “No journalist is safe once they take to the streets.”

The IFJ says that western journalists are particularly in danger and says media organisations must warn correspondents, particularly freelance reporters, against taking any unnecessary risks.

The IFJ also said local journalists, who are prominent among media victims will, work to try to discover the whereabouts of Jill Carroll, who was reporting for the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor, when she was snatched in Baghdad's western Adel district. Her translator Allan Enwiyah was shot dead.

Three Iraqi television journalists were recently killed in this district, which is one of the city’s most dangerous suburbs. The Christian Science Monitor said she was one her way to meet Adnan al Dulaimi, the head of a prominent Sunni coalition when she was taken.

The IFJ has called on the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate and other press groups to use their networks to try to get information on the whereabouts of Jill Carroll.

“The taking of hostages is a sinister and brutal reminder of the anxiety-filled reality of daily life for media people,” said Aidan White. “We must do everything we can to make sure Carroll is released quickly and safely.”

Last year another western journalist, Rory Carroll, working for The Guardian, was briefly kidnapped and earlier other victims, including French journalists Georges Malbrunot, Christian Chesnot, Liberation reporter Florence Aubenas and Italian correspondent for Il Manifesto Giuliana Sgrena, were released after negotiations. The IFJ says everything must be done to avoid a repeat of the horrifying treatment meted out to Enzo Baldoni, another Italian reporter, for RAI television, who was kidnapped, publicly displayed and later executed by his captors.

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