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Al-Iraqiya anchorman gunned down in Iraq

A clip of Riad al-Saray, an Al-Iraqiya anchor murdered in Baghdad. (AFP/Sabah Arar)

New York, September 7, 2010--Riad al-Saray, an anchorman for Al-Iraqiya television, was killed this morning when a group of unidentified gunmen opened fire on his car in western Baghdad, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Iraqi authorities to thoroughly investigate the murder and bring the perpetrators to justice.

"We extend our deep condolences to the family and colleagues of Riad al-Saray," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "We call on the Iraqi authorities to end the culture of impunity by investigating this murder and bringing all those responsible to justice." 

Al-Saray, who joined Al-Iraqiya in 2005, hosted programs that sought to reconcile Shiites and Sunnis, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. Amar Hassan, an Al-Iraqiya colleague, said that while al-Saray addressed political issues in his programs, he was not considered controversial. He said al-Saray was on his way to Karbala in southern Iraq when he was gunned down at about 6 a.m. Police said the gunmen used silencers in the attack.

Al-Iraqiya is part of the state-run Iraqi Media Network and has wide viewership across the nation. At least 14 other Iraqi Media Network staffers have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, the highest death toll for any media organization in Iraq during that period.

Although anti-press violence has declined significantly in Iraq in the past two years, deadly attacks still occur, CPJ research shows. Reporter Sardasht Osman was found slain in Mosul in May, and three Al-Arabiya support workers were killed in a bombing in Baghdad in July.

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