The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which represents about 600,000 journalists around the world, is marking Sunday as a global day of solidarity with Iraqi journalists to highlight the increasing danger and uncertainty their colleagues face as the conflict in Iraq worsens.
“In these dark and dangerous days, the journalists of Iraq are showing great courage and professionalism in their defiance of intimidation and the inhumanity of extremists whose callous disregard for the right to life has caused so much suffering to Iraqi media,” IFJ President Jim Boumelha and General Secretary Aidan White said in a joint letter to Iraqi unions.
The desperate conditions and uncertainty Iraqi journalists] face in their daily lives is underscored this year by the postponement of their annual celebration of solidarity in journalism from June 15 date to June 24 due to security conditions after the bombing of the minarets of the Golden Mosque in Samarra.
At least 212 Iraqi colleagues have been killed since 2003 in a conflict that has claimed more media lives than any other in modern history. Already in 2007 the IFJ knows of 39 Iraqi journalists who have been killed.
“This horrifying ordeal is one that inspires solidarity, compassion and determination among journalists of the world,” the IFJ letter said. “We shall work with you to end the killings, to provide support for the victims of violence and to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in your fight for peace, tolerance and the creation of a democratic media culture for the people of Iraq.”
The IFJ welcomes the first meeting of the Iraq Journalists Safety Committee, which has been formed after a recent meeting in Irbil, to improve safety conditions for Iraqi journalists and their support staff. The IFJ has pledged to work together with the International News Safety Institute to see an end to targeting of Iraqi media staff and impunity in the killing of journalists.
“We shall stand by you in your demand for decent working conditions, respect for independent journalism and a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future for the people of Iraq,” said the IFJ leaders.
For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents about 600,000 journalists in 115 countries worldwide