An unidentified assailant shot and killed Iraqi reporter Hisham Fares al-Adhami while he was covering protests in central Baghdad on October 4, 2019, killing him instantly, according to news reports as well as the journalist’s brother and Jumana Mumtaz, a board member of the independent journalists’ syndicate National Union of Journalists in Iraq, both of whom spoke to CPJ via messaging app.
Al-Adhami was covering the protests on Baghdad’s Al-Tayyaran Square when was hit in the back by a live round, killing him on the spot, according to those news reports. Hadi Jalo Maree, head of the Iraqi Observatory for Press Freedom, a local advocacy group, was cited in those reports as saying that al-Adhami was killed by sniper fire.
His corpse was transferred the next day to his hometown, Adhamiya, where he was buried, according to those reports.
CPJ could not independently confirm the origin of the gunfire. A report by U.S. broadcaster NPR said that Iraqi security forces had opened fire on demonstrators in Baghdad on October 4. However, Iraqi security forces said that “unidentified snipers” had killed four people in Baghdad that day, and have accused Iran-back militias of being involved in violence against protesters, according to a report by Qatari-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera.
Protests over unemployment, a lack of basic services, and government corruption broke out in the Iraqi capital and spread to other cities on October 1, according to news reports. At least 19 people died in clashes between protesters and security forces from October 1 to 4, according to those reports.
Al-Adhami’s brother, Fanar Al-Adhami, told CPJ that al-Adhami worked as a freelance video reporter, and had previously worked as a reporter for privately owned Iraqi broadcasters Al-Nahr Iraq TV and Al-Sumaria TV.
Mumtaz told CPJ that al-Adhami had worked as an editor and reporter for Al-Sumaria TV’s “Red Line” program, wherein reporters embedded with police and security forces to show arrests and raids.
Al-Adhami also had his own YouTube channel, on which he posted videos covering the arrest of a robbery gang and presenting the prank show “Habashkalat al-Nahar,” which was aired by Al-Nahar Iraq TV.