Iraq: another journalist assassinated

From Reporters Without Borders, June 18, via International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX):

Reporters Without Borders has voiced deep outrage at the murder of Filaih Wadi Mijthab, editor of the daily “al-Sabah”, whom kidnappers snatched from his car on 13 June 2007 as he was driving to work.

His body was found near a mosque in Sadr City, one of nine Baghdad suburbs, on 15 June. It appeared he had been “executed” the previous evening.

The editor had been driving to his office in the al-Habibiya district of Sadr City two days earlier when several vehicles forced him to a halt and then bundled him out of his car. His driver and his son, who was also in the car, were left untouched.

The worldwide press freedom organisation pointed out that 14 journalists are still being held hostage in Iraq, some of them for several months, with no news filtering out about them to their families and colleagues.

“Iraqi journalists are being regularly targeted and remain particularly vulnerable, because they are unprotected,” Reporters Without Borders said. “No fewer than 29 of them have been killed in the past six months alone – more than one a week. It is the Iraqi government’s urgent responsibility to investigate these murders and to track down and try those responsible.”

The daily “al-Sabah” is part of the public media grouping Iraqi Media Network. Wadi Mijthab was under the previous regime, a columnist on the Baathist daily “al-Thawra”, until its closure following the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Reporters Without Borders has organised a rally at the Champ-de-Mars in Paris on 20 June, to be attended by around 100 international media outlets, to launch a joint appeal for the release of the 14 journalists held hostage in Iraq and of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, held hostage in Gaza since 12 March.

See our last posts on Iraq and attacks on the press.