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Iraq

2011


Journalists die at high rates while covering protests in the Arab world and elsewhere. Photographers and freelancers appear vulnerable. Pakistan is again the deadliest nation. A CPJ special report

In Egypt, protesters demanding democratic change gather in Tahrir Square. (AFP)

New York, December 6, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the targeting of media by supporters of various political factions in Kurdistan. Journalists have been attacked and arrested in Iraqi Kurdistan and six media offices have been attacked in the past four days, according to news reports.

Hadi al-Mahdi

New York, September 9, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Thursday evening's killing of Iraqi journalist, filmmaker, and playwright Hadi al-Mahdi in Baghdad and calls on Iraqi authorities to immediately take steps to bring the perpetrators to justice.  

Al-Mahdi, radio show host and critic of the government, was shot dead in his home on Abu Nawas Street in the Baghdad neighborhood of al-Jidida on Thursday evening, Agence France-Presse reported. The Associated Press reported that a police officer said the journalist had been shot by gunmen using pistols outfitted with silencers. Witnesses at the crime scene told Human Rights Watch that they saw no evidence of a struggle or theft and that the journalist's valuables were left untouched. CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.

New York, August 31, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Monday's brutal assault on Kurdish journalist Asos Hardi and calls on Kurdish authorities to immediately take steps to bring the perpetrators to justice.

New York, June 23, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of cameraman Alwan al-Ghorabi, who died in the southern city of Diwaniyya when a car bomb exploded in the city center on Tuesday. 

Few cases of sexual assault against journalists have ever been documented, a product of powerful cultural and professional stigmas. But now dozens of journalists are coming forward to say they have been sexually abused in the course of their work. A CPJ special report by Lauren Wolfe

Chaotic public events are often the setting for sexual abuse of journalists. CBS correspondent Lara Logan was assaulted at this political demonstration in Cairo. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

CPJ’s 2011 Impunity Index spotlights countries
where journalists are slain and killers go free

We write a lot at CPJ about the terrible things that happen to journalists because of their reporting, but we don't often get a chance to show you what happens to them after they are forced to flee their homes and land abroad. This video, about three such journalists, is worth watching.

| Iraq

Anti-press violence in Iraqi Kurdistan, past and present

Protesters denounce anti-press violence in Iraqi Kurdisatn in this 2010 demonstration. (AP/Yahya Ahmed)

Kurdistan is different, as nearly every Iraqi Kurd I have ever met has said. Far less violent than the rest of Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, the parts of the north controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government have escaped the kind of sectarian unrest that continues to flare in the south. But in recent months more than 150 Iraqi Kurdish journalists have been injured or attacked, according to the local Metro Center to Defend Journalists. One journalist was murdered three years ago in Kirkuk after uncovering evidence of government corruption. But most of the journalists who find themselves more recently under siege have been covering violent clashes between the Kurdish security forces and protestors in Sulaymaniyah.

New York, April 21 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of an Iraqi sound engineer who sustained fatal injuries in a double car-bomb attack Monday in Baghdad.

New York, April 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Yemeni authorities today to explain why they have held prominent journalist Ali Salah Ahmed since Tuesday without revealing his location or charging him with a crime. 

Anti-government protesters Monday in Sana'a. (Reuters)

New York, April 18, 2011-- The Committee to Protect journalists called on Yemeni authorities to clarify the whereabouts of reporter Ahmad al-Mohamadi, who has been missing since being called for questioning Saturday by the Republican Guards.

Magdi Hilali among detained. (MBC)

New York, April 11, 2011--Continuing a weeks-long pattern of seizing journalists covering the Libyan conflict, the government of Muammar Qaddafi is detaining two more television journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. And in Egypt, in a serious setback for press freedom under the transitional government, a court has sentenced a blogger to a three-year prison term for "insulting the military." 

Matthew VanDyke

New York, April 8, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the fate of American freelance journalist Matthew VanDyke, who has been missing in Libya since mid-March, according to his family and news reports. He is among 15 reporters either missing or in government custody in Libya.

 Mansoor al-Jamri (Reuters)
New York, April 4, 2011--The Bahraini government continued its attempts at muzzling critical media with the Ministry of Information ordering the country's premier independent daily temporarily shut down on Sunday. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Bahraini government's strong-arm tactics, which effectively forced a change in a prominent paper's editorial management. In Libya, Iraq, and Yemen, independent and critical media continue to be targets for government intimidation and harassment, CPJ research found.

New York, April 1, 2011--Al-Jazeera said today that Libyan authorities re-arrested four of its journalists just hours after they had been released. A Syrian journalist who spoke critically of Libyan government policies was also reported in state custody. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the ongoing attacks on the press in Libya, and calls on authorities to immediately release all journalists in custody.

New York, March 29, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of Sabah al-Bazi, a correspondent for Al-Arabiya and contributor to Reuters, CNN, and other international news outlets, who was killed today when gunmen wearing military uniforms seized control of a provincial government building in Tikrit.

Syrians shout slogans in support of protesters in Deraa. (Reuters)

New York, March 28, 2011--Facing the nationwide spread of political unrest, Syrian authorities barred three Reuters journalists from reporting, blocked journalistic access to a hotbed of political dissent, censored a critical satellite station, and detained a political blogger. The widespread repression in Syria came on the same weekend that Libyan security agents forcibly barred a woman in Tripoli from giving journalists her account of being raped and abused by militiamen loyal to leader Muammar Qaddafi. Attacks on the press were also reported in Iraq, Mauritania, and Jordan.

Kurdish demonstrators pray in Sulaimaniya following protests. (AFP/Shwan Mohammed)

New York, March 8, 2011--Nearly a dozen gunmen stormed an independent radio station in Sulaimaniya's Kalar district on Sunday, vandalizing the office, breaking most of the equipment, and confiscating the rest. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the assault on Radio Dang and calls on the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan to thoroughly investigate the attack.  It is the second armed assault on an independent radio station in Sulaimaniya in a less than a month, according to news reports.

An Iraqi officer hits Al-Alam cameraman Mohammed al-Rased during a demonstration in Basra today. (AP/Nabil al-Jurani)
New York, March 4, 2011--Today in Libya, authorities prevented foreign journalists invited to report in the country from covering the crackdown on protesters in the capital, according to news reports. In southern Iraq, anti-riot police attacked at least five local journalists covering protests in Basra, according to news reports.
Atta (Reuters)

New York, February 28, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the ongoing attempts of governments in the Middle East to censor news coverage of protests. In Yemen, men stormed the Journalists' Syndicate on Saturday, and in Iraq, journalists demanded apologies from the military after a crackdown on the press on Friday, and Baghdad Operations Command offered the apologies on Sunday. 

Military forces rounded up journalists in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, seen here today. (AP/Karim Kadim) New York, February 25, 2011--The Committee to protect Journalists documented additional attacks today in Iraq, Yemen, and Libya as journalists tried to cover anti-government protests. Iraqi authorities cracked down on media: Security forces stormed a satellite TV office, detained dozens of journalists, and confiscated equipment, according to local journalists and news reports. In Yemen, at least four journalists were detained today, according to local journalists, and Al-Jazeera reported that its crew was prevented from covering demonstrations in Sana'a. Libyan border patrols confiscated cameras and SIM cards of journalists entering Libya from Tunisia, according to news reports.

A screen grab taken from footage broadcast on Libyan state television on February 20 shows a televised address by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's son Saif al-Islam. (AFP/LIBYAN TV)
New York, February 24, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists remains alarmed by the Libyan government's ongoing, threatening rhetoric against the press, as well as the continued violence against journalists--a number of whom have not been heard from since demonstrations began on February 17. In a separate development, an Iraqi journalist was killed and another reporter injured today in a suicide bombing in Anbar province, according to news reports.
Ziad al-Ajili, head of Baghdad's Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, inspects the aftermath of a raid on his office today. (AP/Hadi Mizban)

New York, February 23, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the ongoing attack on journalists and bloggers in the Middle East. Today the Libyan deputy foreign minister warned foreign journalists crossing the eastern border that they will be treated as "outlaws," according to news reports. In Iraq, gunmen raided the office of a local press freedom group; in Egypt, pro-government supporters attacked a group of local journalists; and in Syria, a young blogger was arrested on Sunday, according to news reports. 

Protesters chant anti-government slogans in the main square of Tobruk, Libya, today. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih)

New York, February 22, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the ongoing deterioration of conditions for the media in the Middle East, including the disappearance of Atef al-Atrash, a critical Libyan journalist, since anti-Qaddafi demonstrations began February 17. The Internet has been intermittently down since Saturday in the country, according to international news reports, and foreign journalists continue to be denied entry. Al-Jazeera's signal in Libya remains jammed, according to the network. In Yemen, security forces confiscated the print run of an independent newspaper and at least one reporter was injured as demonstrations turned violent. And in Iraq, 50 gunmen reportedly shot up an independent television station while the staff of a local newspaper was forced to evacuate their offices.

Bahraini anti-government protesters take a rest from demonstrations in central Manama, Bahrain. (Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed)

New York, February 17, 2011--Authorities in Bahrain and Yemen have escalated their physical attack on the press in order to censor coverage of spreading anti-government protests, the Committee to protect Journalists said today. Also, in Iraq, at least two journalists were attacked by guards for the Kurdistan Democratic Party's building, local journalists told CPJ. 

New York, February 17, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of freelance journalist Hilal al-Ahmadi, who was gunned down outside his home in Mosul today. 

Suppression Under the Cover of National Security

A police trooper stands guard on a police vehicle outside a state security court in Sanaa, Yemen. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

By Mohamed Abdel Dayem

Relying on an extensive network of sources in the military, government, and Islamist groups, Yemeni freelance journalist Abdulelah Shaea had become a frequent and pointed critic of the administration's counterterrorism efforts. By July, President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government had enough, dispatching security agents to seize and roughly interrogate Shaea for several hours about his reporting.

Top Developments
• New press court, politically motivated lawsuits raise alarm.
• As instability festers, five journalists, three support workers are killed.

Key Statistic
$1 billion Damages sought by the Kurdistan Democratic Party from a newspaper that detailed alleged political corruption.


Instability festered throughout the year as political parties wrangled to form a new government after March elections and U.S. troops handed over security to Iraqi forces in August. At least five journalists and three media support workers were killed in relation to their work, reflecting a persistent level of insecurity. Government forces were holding a critical newspaper editor without apparent charge or due process.

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Killed in Iraq

164 journalists killed since 1992

103 journalists murdered

103 murdered with impunity

Attacks on the Press 2012

93 Unsolved journalist murders, reflecting the world's worst record of impunity.

Country data, analysis »

Contact

Middle East
and North Africa

Program Coordinator:
Sherif Mansour

Research Associate:
Jason Stern

smansour@cpj.org
jstern@cpj.org

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فيسبوك : لجنة حماية الصحفيين بالعربية

Blog: Sherif Mansour
Blog: Jason Stern

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