Iraq media death toll prompts Jaber to dedicate award to her 'fixers'

Sunday Times foreign correspondent Hala Jaber reminded the awards audience of the 64 journalists killed since the invasion of Iraq as she picked up foreign reporter of the year for a second time.

Speaking of the murder last month of Iraqi journalist Atwar Bahjat, Jaber said: "It could have been me, it could have been anyone — but the fact of the matter is we are OK, we are alive and we are getting awards."

She said the award was not just for her, but for the many local journalists and fixers who risk their lives for British newspapers.

Jaber told Press Gazette: "Sixty-four journalists have been killed in Iraq, the highest number of any conflict in the world, even Vietnam. Some people are missing and my really good friend Atwar Bahjat died a few weeks ago. She got picked up, taken, God knows if she was tortured, and then killed.

"A few weeks ago, I lost it when I saw her face staring out at me on a screen.

She put her life on the line because she believed in it. I believe in it as well, we have to. It’s horrifying and scary out there, but if we don’t go then we don’t get to hear about it here — that’s the bottom line.

"I sometimes tell my boss, ‘I don’t want to go there’, but after a month I am screaming ‘I need to go’ — we become attached to somewhere. I hate it and am terrified of it, but I cannot abandon it. I am lucky I am here and alive. That’s what I tell myself."

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