Three more journalists killed in Iraq

Three Iraqi journalists were assassinated in “cold-blooded and ruthless executions” on the roadside south of Baghdad at the weekend, according to the International Federation of Journalists in Iraq.

The attack took place on Sunday when the journalists were travelling to Kerbala from Baghdad.

They
were among 13 passengers in a minibus that was stopped by an armed
group who picked out the journalists when they showed their press cards.

The
rest of the passengers were freed, but Najem Abd Khudair, the Kerbala
correspondent for the newspaper Al Mada, Ahmad Adam, a freelance writer
for Al Mada and trainee journalist Ali Jassem Al Rumi, working for Al
Safeer newspaper in Baghdad, were then killed.

“These colleagues were savagely murdered,” said
Aidan White, IFJ general secretary. “They had their throats cut in
cold-blooded and ruthless executions that are a cruel demonstration of
the horrors of working in journalism in Iraq today.”

These latest
killings bring to 85 the number of journalists and media staff killed
in Iraq since war began in March 2003. Of this number some 62, almost
80 per cent, are Iraqi. The number also includes 14 deaths at the hands
of US troops, which have prompted the IFJ and others to demand
independent reports on the circumstances.

The IFJ opened a safety
office in Baghdad last month with the support of Iraqi journalists who
have created the Iraqi National Journalism Advisory Panel to improve
levels of protection for journalists, to campaign for journalists’

rights and to encourage journalists to work together in the current crisis.

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