News

October 7, 2013 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Killing of two TV journalists indicative of permanent insecurity in Iraq


Reporters Without Borders Reporters condemns in the strongest terms the murder two days ago of Mohamed Karim Al-Badrani, a reporter for the commercial television station Al-Sharqiya, and cameraman Mohamed Al-Ghanem in Mosul, 400 km north of Baghdad. The two men were filming a report on preparations for the Eid al-Adha festival in the Al-Sarjakhaneh market in the city centre when gunmen opened fire in their direction. Both were fatally shot in the head. According to another reporter for the station, his two colleagues had received death threats from armed groups after they had been reporting on the security forces in Mosul, but did not take them seriously. “We express our sincere condolences to the families and colleagues of these two journalists,” the press freedom organization said. “We urge the authorities to launch an independent investigation to establish the exact circumstances of the double murder and to bring the perpetrators and instigators to justice. This appalling act must not go unpunished. “The murders are indicative of the deteriorating security in which those in media have to work. They are increasingly targeted because of their work. The Iraqi authorities are responsible for making sure they are able to carry out their duties without fearing for their safety.” On 18 September, Hassan Al-Shamari, a correspondent for the newspaper Al-Mada Press, was the target of an attempted kidnapping by the personal guard of the governor of Diyala Province, Omar Al-Hamiri. The journalist was attending a news conference during which the governor verbally abused Hadi Al-Anbaki, a correspondent for the local TV station Al-hurra Iraq. The altercation was filmed by Al-Shamari, who was set up by members of the governor’s personal guard after the news conference. They pulled him violently from his car and hit him several times. They then tried to force him in their own vehicle before they were stopped by police officers. The attackers then fled the scene. The attack took place a day after Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki gave a speech in which he accused some TV stations of focusing on negative aspects of the news and of hounding politicians, accusing them of seeing things in a religious light. On 13 September, the head of the Baghdad police, Ali Abdel-Amir, ordered the closure of the offices of the TV station Al-Baghdadia TV for the third time this year. Most of its equipment was seized. This followed a decision by the Communications and Media Commission (CMC) which accused Al-Baghdadia TV of “a lack of professionalism in its media discourse”. The CMC refused to renew the station’s accreditation, thus making it illegal. The Iraqi journalists’ union condemned this latest interference by the commission and the absence of a court order to close the station. The commission was set up in 2003 as a non-profit and fully independent regulatory body. It has since been widely criticized for a lack of independence and its decisions that infringe freedom of the press. On 6 October, Dhi Qar provincial police arrested the whole of the station’s staff in Nasiriyah on the orders of the CMC. The head of the station’s local bureau, Riad Al-Ismaili, was released on bail the next day, while the photographers Maher Al-Saeeh and Shamm Riadh are still held.