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Fourth journalist killed since U.S. announced troop withdrawal in September

Mazen Mardan al-Baghdadi
Mazen Mardan al-Baghdadi

Journalistic Freedoms Observatory

A young TV reporter was shot dead at his home in the northern city of Mosul this week, the fourth journalist to be killed since the U.S. announced its military withdrawal from Iraq, report Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the International Press institute (IPI), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Eighteen-year-old Mazen Mardan al-Baghdadi, a correspondent for Al-Mosuliyah satellite television channel, was killed on 22 November when men claiming to be military intelligence officers arrived at his family's home and shot him in front of his family. He is the second journalist to be killed this year from Al-Mosuliyah.

"We support the demands of Iraqi journalists that the government in Iraq takes seriously the scourge of violence against media," said IFJ. "The current wave of violence against journalists puts claims of building democracy in the country in its proper context. When journalists are being killed with impunity it is impossible to talk of the rule of law and respect for human rights."

Last month, IPI said more journalists had been killed in Iraq already this year than in all of 2009.

According to RSF, impunity is widespread: 99 percent of the 230 murders of journalists in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 have gone unpunished. It's no surprise then that Iraq ranks first on CPJ's 2010 Impunity Index, which lists countries where journalists are murdered on a recurring basis and governments are unable or unwilling to prosecute the killers.

Three other journalists have been killed this year since the U.S. declared an official end to combat operations on 1 September: Safa al-Din Abdel Hamid, an Al-Mosuliya TV presenter, Tahrir Kadhim Jawad, a cameraman employed by the U.S. Arabic-language TV station Al-Hurra, and Al-Iraqiya TV news presenter Riad al-Saray.

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