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Three newspaper workers killed on road to Kirkuk; IFJ calls for international action as media killings reach "shocking proportions"

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

Iraq's Intolerable Crisis: IFJ calls for International Action after Latest Media Deaths

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the international community to take special action to confront the human tragedy in Iraq where the killings of journalists and media staff have reached "shocking proportions that can no longer be ignored."

The IFJ was responding to the latest killings of five media workers in Iraq and the increasing frustration of Iraqi journalists who feel that their suffering is not being taken seriously by major players on the international media scene.

"This is not a numbers game," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "The international community must stand up and take fresh action to alleviate the distress of journalists and media under siege in Iraq."

The IFJ says it is working with the Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate (IJS) and the Kurdistan Journalists' Syndicate (KJS) to try to create self-defence mechanisms inside Iraq where a total of 234 media workers have been killed since the invasion in 2003.

"Practical steps by political and social movements seeking to alleviate the disaster in Iraq have got to put the media crisis at the top of their concerns," White said. "These deaths have reached shocking proportions that can no longer be ignored."

This year the IFJ, IJS and KJS and a group of Iraqi media organisations have launched the Iraq Media Safety Group. The group's work is being directed from a safety office established in Baghdad, which is aiming to develop high-profile connections with government officials and media owners in the area of security for journalists.

A wave of violence against media on Sunday and Monday killed five people.

Salih Saif Aldin, a reporter for the Washington Post, was killed on Sunday while he was taking photos in a Baghdad neighbourhood, the newspaper said. The same day Jasim Mohhamed Nofaan, Khaled Hamed Nofaan and Zeyad Tariq al-Dibo, who all worked for Al Watan newspaper, were killed by an unidentified armed group in the public road leading to Kirkuk. Two security guards, A'allal Abedaljabbar Salaameh and Mohhamed Shakir Mahmoud, were injured in the attack.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide.

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