Reporters Without Borders is very concerned to learn that two Iraqi TV journalists were badly hurt in targeted attacks in the past eight days.
The first was Al-Mosuliya TV cameraman Salah Nezal in the northern city of Mosul on 12 January. The second was Sharqiya News reporter Saïf Talal near Baqubah, 60 km northeast of Baghdad, on 18 January.
“We firmly condemn these criminal attacks,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The appalling climate in which journalists have to work in Iraq constitutes a major threat to freedom of information in this country.
“We urge the authorities to deploy all necessary resources so that these crimes are independently investigated with the aim of arresting both the perpetrators and instigators and bringing them to trial. We also call for effective measures to guarantee journalists’ safety.”
Nezal was doing a report on the University of Mosul campus on 8 January when he and his driver were seriously injured by a bomb planted in the back of his car. They are both recovering.
Talal was driving near Baqubah, the capital of Diyala province, when unidentified gunmen repeatedly opened fire on his car, injuring him seriously.
Reporters Without Borders is deeply saddened to learn that Firas Mohammed Attiyah, 28, a freelance reporter working for Al-Fallujah TV, was killed today by a bomb in Khaldiyah, in the western province of Al-Anbar while accompanying police officers to the inauguration of new police station. Muayad Ibrahim, a freelance reporter working for Al-Anbar TV, was badly hurt by the bomb, which was targeted at the police.
Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the impact of the expansion of Jihadi groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and its impact on media personnel in Iraq. A knock-on effect from the conflict in Syria, it is resulting in a decline in the safety of journalists in Iraq.
Recent decisions by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s government and signs of its growing hostility to pro-Sunni media are another source of concern. The government’s actions clearly point to a desire to closely control coverage of the ongoing tension and fighting.