New York, December 23, 2013–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s attack on Salah al-Din TV station headquarters in Tikrit, Iraq, which left several journalists dead. The attack comes amid a wave of targeted killings of journalists in the past few months that has made the country among the deadliest in the world for journalists.
“This vicious attack on a TV station plunges the Iraqi media back into the darkest days of the war which has already claimed the lives of more than 150 journalists,” said CPJ’s deputy director, Robert Mahoney. “Iraq has a pitiful record of prosecuting the killers of journalists. If the government fails to bring all those responsible for this latest outrage to justice, gunmen will again conclude they can kill journalists with impunity.”
It is not clear how many journalists were killed in the attack. Iraqi police told Al-Jazeera that at least five staff members–the station’s chief news editor, a copy editor, a producer, a presenter, and the archives manager–were killed by gunfire or explosives. The Associated Press reported that six channel staff members were killed but did not specify their identities. The motive for the attack was also not clear. Earlier this year, the Iraqi government suspended the licenses of 10 stations, including Salah al-Din, accusing the channels of sectarian incitement for their coverage of Sunni protests in Hawija outside of Kirkuk.