New York, September 22, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the shooting of an engineer working for al-Iraqiya television in Mosul, the third killing of an Iraqi media employee in the northern city in less than a week. Ahlam Youssef was shot to death on Wednesday while driving with her husband, who was also killed. Their son was seriously wounded in the attack, Samer al-Obeidi, editor-in-chief of al-Iraqiya in Baghdad, told CPJ.
“We are gravely alarmed that insurgents are intensifying their murderous campaign
against Iraqi journalists and media employees,” said CPJ Executive Ann Cooper. “With the foreign press unable to move around freely for fear of attack, Iraqis have become the eyes and ears of the world in this conflict. The recent violence is threatening to cut off this critical source of information,” she added.
Youssef ‘s murder continues a deadly trend in Mosul. Firas Maadidi, 36, bureau chief for As-Saffir and chief editor of the local daily Al-Masar, was killed by unidentified gunmen in the city on Tuesday. On Monday, CPJ reported the murder of Hind Ismail, a 28-year-old reporter for As-Saffir, whose body was found in the southern Mosul suburb of al-Muthana. As-Saffir, based in Baghdad, has a strong pro-democracy editorial position and is running a campaign to educate Iraqis on the importance of the new constitution and the upcoming general elections, local journalists said. It also criticizes insurgent attacks against Iraqi civilians, calling them terrorist operations, they said.
Al-Iraqiya has been increasingly targeted because of its ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. Insurgents in Mosul have killed at least three other employees of the station and its affiliates in 2005, and Al-Iraqiya offices have repeatedly come under mortar attack.
The killings bring the death toll for journalists to 56 since the Iraq conflict began in March 2003. Two-thirds of those killed have been Iraqi journalists. Six journalists have been killed in Mosul alone in 2005.
See a full statistical snapshot of journalist deaths in Iraq.