In the morning of February 11, 2020, unidentified individuals with machine guns opened fire on Nizar Thanoun, chief executive officer of Al-Rasheed TV, in front of his home in western Baghdad’s Al-Jamaa neighborhood, according to news reports and a report by Al-Rasheed TV.
The attackers fired from a motorcycle without license plates and then fled the area, according to those reports. Thanoun died at the scene, according to a report by the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq, a local press freedom group.
Iraqi security forces opened an investigation into the killing, according to the report by Al-Rasheed TV.
Al-Rasheed TV is a Baghdad-based broadcaster owned by Saad Assim al-Janabi, head of the Iraqi Republican Assembly Party, an opposition party that does not have any seats in parliament, according to those news reports. Thanoun was a senior member of the party, according to an obituary post on Facebook by al-Janabi.
In November 2019, the broadcaster was among eight outlets that were suspended by Iraq’s media regulator over their critical coverage of protests against alleged government mismanagement, as CPJ documented at the time.
Since the demonstrations broke out in early October 2019, Al-Rasheed TV covered the protests live, and reported on the heavy-handed response, including the use of live ammunition and tear gas canisters, by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and other Iraqi governorates.
The three-month suspension was issued on November 12 and expired on February 12, one day after Thanoun was killed, according to its website.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment in February 2020. CPJ emailed Al-Rasheed TV in February 2020 to ask if Thanoun or the network had received threats for their coverage, but did not receive a response.