Journalist killed in drive-by shooting in Baghdad

New York, October 14, 2004—An Iraqi reporter for a local Arabic-language television station was killed in a drive-by shooting today in Baghdad’s Adhamiya district. Dina Mohammed Hassan, a correspondent for Al-Hurriya TV, was gunned down in front of her Baghdad residence as she waited for a car to transport her to work, station staff told CPJ.

Hassan’s colleagues, who arrived at the scene moments later, said she died while they drove her to a hospital. The identities of the attackers are unknown and police are investigating, according to international press reports.

The motive for today’s attack was unclear. Nawrooz Mohamed Fatah, director of Al-Hurriya, told CPJ that Hassan had never informed him of any threats against her. But he said he was evaluating claims by the journalist’s neighbors and one of her friends that she had received unspecified threats to stop working for Al-Hurriya and had been warned to wear an Islamic headscarf.

Fatah speculated that militant groups might perceive Al-Hurriya as sympathetic to the United States since its financial backer—the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)—has friendly U.S. relations.

At least 33 other journalists and as many as 13 media workers have been killed in Iraq by Iraqi forces, armed groups, and U.S. troops since March 2003. Iraqis employed by coalition forces or foreign organizations—including the media—have been particularly vulnerable to attack by armed groups. Several media employees have been gunned down by armed assailants or have received death threats.