Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that local TV presenter Ghazwan Anas was gunned down yesterday in his home in Mosul, in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region. Several members of his family were seriously injured in the same shooting.
“We offer our condolences to his family and friends, and urge the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation. This shocking crime must not go unpunished. Those responsible must be tried and convicted. The blood of too many journalists has been shed in Iraq. It is time to send a clear signal to the predators.”
Anas, 27, had just sat down to dinner with his family after the day-long Ramadan fast when four gunmen burst into their home in the Mosul neighbourhood of Sumar and started shooting. Anas was killed on the spot. His wife was shot four times and is now in a coma. His mother was also seriously injured and his four-month-old son was left with a bullet lodged in his leg. The entire family was taken to a Mosul hospital.
Anas hosted sports and entertainment programmes on Sama Mosul, a local TV station that began operating last year, but he often broached controversial subjects during his programmes. The station’s owner, Athil Al-Najafi, is also the governor of Nineveh, the province of which Mosul is the capital.
The shooting was probably a politically-motivated reprisal of the kind that sends a signal to all journalists. Iraq continues to be extremely dangerous for media personnel, especially Nineveh and Saladin, the neighbouring province to the south. Journalists are constantly being attacked, especially by armed groups linked to local politicians or criminal organizations.
Anas was the second journalist to be killed in Iraq this year. The first was Salahaddin TV presenter Kamiran Salaheddin, who was killed by a bomb placed under his car in Tikrit, the capital of Saladin province, on 2 April.
Iraq is ranked 152nd out of 179 countries in the 2011/2012 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. For more information, see the Iraq country file.