Who protects journalists? We are targets for doing our job

The main concern of journalists is being targeted for being a journalist, to shut up mouths that loudly criticise and convey truth to the public – especially about what the insurgents and militants do.

[Information] black-outs and antijournalism behaviour of government officials is another barrier in front of journalists as [the government] tries to keep everything secret and unreported in fear of being questioned or investigated by higher officials.

On the other side, militants threaten journalists who try to convey the truth and what really happens on the ground to the public – so there is no one to protect the journalists.

After April 2003, we were introduced to international standards of media and how we should act neutrally and call the terrorists ‘militants’ or ‘insurgents’

and call armed groups such as the Badir Brigade ‘militias’.

We usually avoid writing opinion pieces and editorial where we are supposed to present our points of view, as this might send you to the morgue as has happened to many Iraqi journalists and reporters.

One of my female colleagues was kidnapped by militants who later sent us four tapes with her telling them our names and who we work for.

Another colleague was killed and the insurgents used his cell phone to call his colleagues saying they will kill all of them sooner or later.

Our psychological state is unbalanced because we live and think in fear and worry and always think about our destiny and that of our family members, relatives and friends.

I myself escaped an assassination attempt and was injured. So far, I have been through surgery twice for covering events in Mosul, a hotbed for extremist Islamists, but I have never thought about quitting, as journalism is my life and I really love it.

I hope we will find someone who thinks about how to protect us because the Mosul chief of police carelessly refused to provide journalists with guns to protect themselves, while his bodyguards take care of him.

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