End witch hunt of journalists in Iraq urges IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists is planning a series of protests in Iraq to protest at the targeting of journalists.
 
It follows the killings of three journalists and a support driver over the course of the last month in the country.
 
“We are witnessing an unprecedented witch-hunt against the Iraqi press corps,” said IFJ general secretary Aidan White.
 
“Political and religious leaders who claim to
defend democratic change in this war-stricken country must speak out
against this terror”.
 
The IFJ reported the following incidents:
 
*On February 9, gunmen in Basra shot dead Iraqi journalist Abdul
Hussein Al-Basri, an editor of a local newspaper who was working for
US-backed TV channel Al-Hurriya. The reporter and his son were gunned
down as they left their home.
 
*Also on 9 February, Dler Karam Ali, a Kurdish journalist working
for the Al-Ittihad Al-Isalmi and Al-Ofoq Al-Islami newspapers was shot
and injured by US forces on the road between Baghdad and Darbandikhan
in Northern Iraq. He died 3 days later in hospital. He was passing
through a US military checkpoint on his way to cover the elections when
US soldiers on duty asked the car to stop, the driver refused and the
soldiers started shooting at the car killing Karam Ali.
 
*There was a mortar attack on Iraqiya’s studios on 16 February in which three technicians were injured.
On 25 February, the body of journalist Raeda Wazzan, a news anchor
with the Iraqi state TV channel Al-Iraqiya, was found five days after
she and her son were kidnapped by masked gunmen in the centre of the
northern city of Mosul.
 
*Also on 25 February, Mohammad Sherif Ali, an Iraqi
journalist working for Al-Hurra, a US-funded Arabic television station,
was seriously injured after gunmen attacked his car in Iskandiriyah,
south of Baghdad. His driver was killed in the attack.
 
White said: “Two years after the US military
occupation of Iraq the terrifying ordeal of media in the country
continues with targeted attacks on the free and independent media.”
 
On 8 April the IFJ and Iraqi journalists plan to
hold demonstrations in towns across Iraq to protest over impunity in
the killing of journalists.
 
It says that all cases of violence,
intimidation and killing of media staff must be investigated,
independently and exhaustively. The date is the second anniversary of
the US attack on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad in which two
journalists died.
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