Journalist killed in Iraq by unidentified gunmen

New York, February 17, 2011The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of freelance journalist Hilal al-Ahmadi, who was gunned down outside his home in Mosul today. 

“We call on the Iraqi authorities to vigorously investigate the killing of Hilal al-Ahmadi and bring those behind it to justice,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “It is time for the government to take the long-delayed initial steps toward ending a years-long record of impunity for journalist murders in Iraq.”

Al-Ahmadi, 57, a freelance journalist for more than three decades, was gunned down as he exited his home to go to work. Colleagues told the local press freedom group the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory and local media that al-Ahmadi was a well-known writer in Mosul and that much of his writing, which appeared in various publications, focused on financial and administrative corruption.

Iraq was the deadliest country for journalists every year from 2003 to 2008, CPJ research shows. An overall improvement in security in 2009 was reflected in a relatively safer environment for journalists. In 2010, attacks on journalists and other media workers have spiked again, resulting in the deaths of six journalists and three media support workers in the second half of 2010 alone. 

Iraq ranked 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. Not a single journalist murder since 2003 has been seriously investigated by authorities, and not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice, CPJ research shows.