Reporters Without Borders condemns cameraman Alaa Edward Boutros’s murder yesterday in Mosul, the capital of the northern province of Nineveh. Employed by Nineveh Al-Ghad, a local TV station supported by the provincial authorities, Edwar was gunned down hear his home in the northern suburb of Al-Majmoaa Al-Thakafiya.
Aged 41, Edwar was shot three times in the head and chest by unidentified gunmen and died on the spot. He had previously worked for Al-Rashid TV and for other TV stations as a freelance cameraman.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to Edwar’s family and colleagues,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We are very concerned by the decline in security for news providers in Iraq, especially in Nineveh province. Edwar was the fourth journalist to have been gunned down in similar circumstances in Mosul in less than two months.
“The identity of those responsible is still unknown in all of these cases. We urge the national and local authorities to deploy the resources needed for independent investigations so that both the perpetrators and instigators of these shocking murders can be brought to justice. Investigators should not rule out the possibility of links with the victims’ work as journalists.”
Reporters Without Borders added: “The security forces have meanwhile learned of a list naming 44 journalists for ‘physical liquidation.’ We urge the authorities to do everything necessary to ensure that those on the list are protected.”
All of the four journalists killed in the past two months were deliberately targeted. Gunmen shot Al-Sharqiya TV reporter Mohamed Karim Al-Badrani and his cameraman, Mohamed Al-Ghanem, in the head while they were doing a report on the preparations for Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) in Al-Sarjakhaneh market, in the centre of Mosul, on 5 October.
Al-Mosuliya TV cameraman Bashar Abdulqader Najm Al-Nouaymi was shot by gunmen using silencers outside his home on the afternoon of 24 October. Al-Masar TV correspondent Falah Hassan was badly wounded when gunmen shot him in Mosul on 27 October.
Iraqi journalists are often threatened, especially when they cover stories involving corruption and armed violence, and many have to flee to other cities or flee abroad.
They include Houssam Mahmoud Farj and Salim Mohamed, who received death threats after satellite TV station Al-Etejah broadcast a documentary by them at the end of October called “The reign of chaos,” in which they criticized corruption in state institutions. Farj had already been threatened in connection with his reporting in the past.
Iraq is ranked 150th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders index, which measures respect for media freedom, and is ranked No. 1 in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual Impunity Index, which measures failure to punish murders of journalists.