IRAQI MEDIA STAFF TARGETED
On 26 March 2004, Burhan Mohamed Mazhour, a freelance camera operator for the U.S.-based broadcaster ABC News, was killed in the city of Fallujah. He was among a group of journalists caught in a gunfight involving U.S. troops, reported CPJ and IFJ. ABC has asked the U.S. military to conduct an investigation into Mazhour's death.
That same day, Omar Kamal, a translator for "Time" magazine, died from multiple gunshot wounds after he was shot on 24 March while driving to an assignment, said CPJ. Several Iraqis working for "Time" have received threats from a number of sources.
On 5 March, Selwan Abdelghani Medhi, a freelance translator for the U.S.-funded Voice of America, was shot and killed along with his mother and daughter in Baghdad while driving home from a relative's house. No motive for the killings has been determined.
Nabil al-Jurani, a freelance photographer for AP, proved luckier. On 29 March, he was shot while covering skirmishes between British troops and locals in Basra, but survived.
Anonymous threats against Iraqis working for foreign media are becoming routine. "These appear to be part of a larger effort by insurgents to intimidate Iraqis who work for foreign organizations, including Coalition-supported and private media," CPJ notes.
IFJ says 40 media personnel, including five on 18 March, have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, (see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/57609/).
Visit the IFEX website for updates on the situation in Iraq: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/222/
Read these reports by IFEX members:
- Index on Censorship: http://www.indexonline.org/
- IFJ: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?index=2328&Language=EN
- CPJ: http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2003/gulf03/gulf03.html
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=9045
- International Press Institute: http://www.freemedia.at/IraqReport2003.htm