New York, October 23, 2007— The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed deep concern today about the abduction of a radio correspondent and the slaying of her driver in Baghdad on Monday.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) said the correspondent, whose name was not released, did not arrive for a scheduled assignment on Monday morning. The female correspondent worked for Radio Free Iraq, the Arabic language service of RFE/RL that broadcasts to Iraq from RFE/RL headquarters in Prague. RFE/RL said it is not releasing certain details in an effort to help locate and free the correspondent. The radio service said that Iraqi police found the body of her driver in Baghdad’s Al-Shaab neighborhood. The driver was not named.
“We’re concerned for the safety of the abducted correspondent and outraged by the murder of her driver, events that underscore the dangers faced by everyone in the news media as they struggle to report from Iraq.” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Authorities should do everything they can to ensure the journalist is freed unharmed.”
Two journalists for RFE/RL, a U.S. government-funded broadcaster, have been killed this year. In May, gunmen shot correspondent Nazar Abdulwahid al-Radhi in the southern city of Al-Amarah in the Maysan province. Reporter Khamail Khalaf was kidnapped from Baghdad’s Yarmouk district and murdered in early April.
According to CPJ research, at least 50 other journalists have been abducted since 2004. Monday’s murder of the driver brings the number of media support staff killed to 42; with one exception, all have been Iraqis.