Al-Mosuliya journalist shot to death in Iraq

New York, November 22, 2010–Mazen Mardan al-Baghdadi, a reporter for Al-Mosuliya television, was gunned down on Sunday in front of his home, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Iraqi authorities to thoroughly and transparently investigate the murder.

Three armed men showed up at the journalist’s house on Sunday at 6 p.m. and told al-Baghdadi’s father they were with military intelligence and wanted to speak to his son. “They said that they need to see Mazen urgently,” al-Baghdadi’s father told the local press freedom group Society to Defending Press Freedom in Iraq. Al-Baghdadi’s father summoned his son, and when he arrived home, the men opened fire. Two bullets to his head killed him immediately, the father said.

Al-Baghdadi was 18 years old, according to news reports. He worked for Al-Mosuliya for the last seven months presenting two talk shows, “Sabah al-Kheir” (Good morning) and “Al-Mosul fi Isbou” (Mosul in a Week).

“We send our condolences to the friends and family of Mazen Mardan al-Baghdadi ,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Coordinator. “We call on Iraqi authorities to investigate the journalist’s killing and explain whether military intelligence officers were involved in the murder.”

Al-Baghdadi is the second Al-Mosuliya journalist to be killed in the last two months. In September, Safa al-Din Abdel Hamid was gunned down in front of his home by assailants firing from a speeding car. Two other journalists have been killed in Iraq since September. Riad al-Saray, an anchor for Al-Iraqiya TV station was shot the day before Hamid’s murder. In October, Tahrir Kadhim Jawad, a freelance cameraman, was killed when a car bomb exploded as he was driving to Baghdad to deliver footage.

Iraq ranks first on CPJ’s 2010 Impunity Index, which lists countries where journalists are murdered on a recurring basis and governments are unable or unwilling to prosecute the killers.