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Two Iraqi broadcast journalists shot dead by masked men

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 12 January 2016.

Journalist Saif Tallal and cameraman Hassan al-Anbaki working for Sharqiya TV channel were shot dead on 12 January by some masked militiamen near Baquba, the capital of Diyala province in Iraq, on their way back from a professional mission covering violence in the Muqdadiyah area. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), representing more than 600,000 journalists in the world, backs its affiliate the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate (IJS) in condemning the killings and asks for a prompt investigation.

A media staff worker from Sharqiya, a Sunni-owned TV channel known for its editorial line opposing the central government, told media that Tallal and al-Anbaki were returning to Baquba from a reporting trip when masked men stopped them in the village of Abu Saida, removed the media workers from the vehicle and executed them.

"The Iraqi Journalists Union strongly condemns this crime which has targeted honest and sincere journalists while performing their professional and national duty on reporting facts to the public in an accurate and objective way", said the IFJ affiliate.

The IFJ backed its affiliate in Iraq, one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world.

"We present our condolences to colleagues Saif Tallal and Hassan al-Anbaki's families and friends and call the authorities to investigate the crime and bring perpetrators to justice so that they receive the punishment they deserve", said the IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. "We stand by our Iraqi colleagues in these difficult moments and fully back their right to report and work without fear."

Saif Tallal and Hassan al-Anbaki are the first media workers tragically killed in 2016. Last year, 10 journalists were killed in Iraq, according to IFJ statistics.

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