Iraqi producer murdered in Baghdad

New York, September 24, 2007—­The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of an Al-Baghdadia satellite channel producer in Baghdad on Sunday.

Several gunmen in a car shot Jawad al-Daami, 40, a line producer for the independent Cairo-based Al-Baghdadia, in the head in Baghdad’s southwestern neighborhood of Al-Qadissiya at around 4 p.m. on Sunday, a source at the channel told CPJ. The source said that al-Daami was heading home southwest of Baghdad. He added that al-Daami, a well-known poet, had gone to Baghdad to attend a cultural conference on his day off from work.

“We mourn the death of Jawad al-Daami and offer our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Baghdad is fraught with risk for journalists trying to cover what is happening in Iraq—they contend with targeted killings, abductions, and other harassment.”

The reason behind al-Daami’s killing remains unclear, but the area where he was shot houses several militia groups that are known to target journalists, according to local reporters.

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization, quoted Al-Baghdadia sources as saying that al-Daami met with several colleagues earlier that day in Baghdad’s Al-Mansour neighborhood to plan a young people’s cultural forum. A spokesman at the Observatory said that he was killed because he was a well-known journalist and poet.

Al-Daami worked on cultural and social programs for Al-Baghdadia, writing and researching in his role as a line producer. He was the second employee for the channel killed in Iraq. So’oud Muzahim al-Shoumari, an Al-Baghdadia correspondent, was found shot in Baghdad’s southern district of Doura in April 2006 by Iraqi police.

In all, at least 112 journalists, not including al-Daami, and 40 media support staffers have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, making it the deadliest conflict for the press in CPJ’s 26-year history. About 85 percent of media deaths have been Iraqis.