Iraq: Several media offices attacked by masked armed men in Baghdad

Several media offices were attacked and stormed by masked armed men in Baghdad on Saturday 5 October in the evening amid the violent protests in Iraq. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns these violent attacks against press freedom and demands the authorities to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Iraqi demonstrators burn tyres during a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services, and unemployment. CREDIT: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP

Many media premises, including international broadcasters, were targeted. The Saudi-owned news broadcaster Al Arabiya said that their office in Baghdad was attacked by masked gunmen who smashed the media’s equipment and physically attacked some of the workers. Al Arabiya received threats on the days before the incident.

The offices of NRT, a TV channel from the Iraqi Kurdistan, were also attacked. The assailants destroyed computers, televisions and other media equipment, and did damage on walls, windows and doors of the building. Iraq's Dajla office in Baghdad was also targeted by gunmen.

Dajla TV said in a statement published on its website on 5 October that “armed masked men had beaten the guards of our offices in Baghdad and burned it down. This action aims to muzzle the voice of free media.”

The attack came as protests flared up again in Baghdad. Since the anti-government protests started on Tuesday 1 October, dozens of people have been killed, according to the Associated Press.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “We deplore the targeted violence against media offices and workers. The Iraqi government and law enforcement agencies must identify the attackers roaming around the streets of Baghdad in armed convoys. The Iraqi government is responsible for holding the perpetrators accountable for these attacks. Otherwise, they will be implicitly supporting their criminal actions".

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

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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