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Media executive shot to death in Baghdad street

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

IFJ Condemns Latest Killing of Journalist in Baghdad

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the killing of Iraqi media executive, Qassem Abdul Hussein al-Eqabi, who was shot in Baghdad earlier today, and called on the government to improve the safety of media workers in Iraq.

"This latest death again shows the precarious security conditions that Iraqi media continue to face," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "The Iraqi government must investigate this case and all the other attacks on journalists to prosecute those responsible and send the message that journalist can work freely and safely."

According to reports, al-Eqabi, 36 and the father of five children, was shot by unknown gunmen while walking in Baghdad's largely Shiite Karradah neighborhood. He was the head of public relations and distribution for the local political daily newspaper Al-Muwaten.

The Iraqi Union of Journalists (IUJ) says this death brings the total number of Iraqi journalists killed since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 to 272.

Two weeks ago IUJ President Shihab Al-Timimi, 75, died as a result of a targeted shooting attack. Al-Timimi finally died of a heart attack in hospital after sustaining wounds to the stomach, shoulder and face when his car was hit by a hail of bullets.

A delegation of the IFJ visited Baghdad in January to discuss with Al-Timimi and the union's secretary general Moaid Al-Lami - both of whom have received numerous death threats from extremists - plans to strengthen media freedom and levels of protection for journalists.

The Iraqi Media Safety Group, which was formed by the IUJ, Kurdistan Journalists' Syndicate and Iraqi media organisations to promote journalists' safety, is calling on the Minister of Interior to follow up on the IFJ demand that he appoint a special unit to investigate the cases of killed Iraqi journalists.

"Our colleagues are being attacked with impunity and the government must do more," White said. "We will not stand by as these devastating attacks on journalists and on journalism continue."

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.

For further information on the Al-Timimi case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/91178/

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