Journalist, two media workers murdered

New York, November 22, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of an Iraqi journalist in the city of Baqubah near Baghdad, and the killing of two media support workers in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Luma al-Karkhi, 25, a reporter for the Baghdad-based daily Al-Dustour, was gunned down in the Tahreer neighborhood of Baqubah, northeast of Baghdad, while on her way to work on November 15. She stopped at a cell phone shop where several gunmen shot her, a source at the paper told CPJ. Al-Karkhi received several death threats from insurgents in Diyala province warning her to stop reporting, the source said. He added that she had grown increasingly apprehensive about reporting in the province and had confined herself to her home for much of the time.

In separate incident on November 15, Fadia Mohammad Abdelta’i, 40, an advertising executive for the local weekly Al-Masar, and her driver were shot dead by unidentified gunmen while driving to work in the al-Quds neighborhood of Mosul. CPJ is investigating the circumstances behind their murder.

“We mourn the brutal murders of our colleagues in Iraq and offer their families our condolences,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Journalists trying to cover the story in Iraq have absolutely no refuge or reprieve from the violence and pay the ultimate price for practicing their profession.”

In all, 88 journalists, including Luma al-Karkhi, and 37 media support workers have been killed in direct relation to their work in Iraq since the war began on March 20, 2003, making it the deadliest conflict in CPJ’s 25-year history.