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Spate of physical attacks on Iraqi journalists

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns several recent cases of violence against Iraqi journalists by US and Iraqi soldiers and armed groups. At least three journalists have been the victims of physical attacks in the past two weeks.

"We reiterate that passage of the bill for the protection of journalists would improve conditions for the media," Reporters Without Borders said. "The time taken by Parliament to begin examining this bill, which has been repeatedly postponed since September 2009, seems to be the main reason for the continuation of violence against the Iraqi media."

A joint Iraqi and US military detachment attacked Mohamed Jalil, a photographer and reporter for the German news agency DPA, on 19 May 2010 in Fallujah, 69 km west of Baghdad. Iraqi and US soldiers forced their way into his home and hit him. They then confiscated his cameras and his laptops. Neither army gave an explanation for the raid or the use of violence.

Three gunmen searched the home of Khaled Quraghuli, a journalist with Al-Anbar and professor at the University of Al-Anbar, on 8 May in the central city of Ramadi, about 100 km west of Baghdad. The gunmen hit Quraghuli and fired several shots before departing.

Ihab Al-Zouba'i, a freelance journalist who reports for the "Washington Post" from Abu Ghraib (32 km west of the centre of Baghdad), was going through the Al-Hamadania checkpoint on 5 May when four Iraqi soldiers insulted him and hit him because he was speaking on his telephone. Al-Zouba'i is one of the few journalists working in western Baghdad because of the difficulties for journalists and the restrictions imposed by the Iraqi army in this area.

Reporters Without Borders is also saddened to learn that Rahim Al-Shamri, a reporter for the newspaper "Al-Fateh", was killed by an explosion at a textile plant in Al-Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad, on 10 May. Two other reporters – Ihsan Al-Khalidi, of satellite TV station Al-Rasheed, and Hussein Al-Abbasi, of radio Sawa – were injured in the explosion.

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