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Journalist killed outside own home in Iraq by unidentified gunmen

Turbulence in Mosul: Residents protest to demand for better basic services and job opportunities in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, February 10, 2011.

Press freedom groups have condemned journalist Hilal Al-Ahmadi’s murder Thursday in the northern city of Mosul. Ahmadi, who worked for two local weeklies, the Mosul Echo and Iraqiyoun, was gunned down outside his home.

“We are extremely shocked and dismayed by Ahmadi’s death,” Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. “The murders of journalists in Iraq are not letting up and generalized impunity is fuelling the cycle of violence. Very few of the 232 murders of media personnel in Iraq since 2003 have been thoroughly and conclusively investigated.” Julliard added: “We demand an investigation that establishes the precise reasons for this murder. Those responsible must be arrested and brought to justice. Impunity must not prevail in Iraq.”

"We condemn the shocking murder of our colleague and call for his killers to face justice," said Aidan White, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) General Secretary. "This crime shows there is a still a long way to go to achieve safety of journalists in Iraq. The lack of credible action on violence against media sends a dangerous sign to media predators. It encourages further attacks and the Iraqi authorities need to end this culture of impunity."

"We call on the Iraqi authorities to vigorously investigate the killing of Hilal al-Ahmadi and bring those behind it to justice," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). "It is time for the government to take the long-delayed initial steps toward ending a years-long record of impunity for journalist murders in Iraq."

Ahmadi was leaving his home in the eastern suburb of Mithaq in order to go to work when men in car opened fire with a submachine-gun and then took off. He was hit several times and died on the spot. The police said they were investigating. The murder scene was cordoned off and Ahmadi’s body was taken to Mosul’s department of forensic medicine.

Aged 50 and the father of four children, Ahmadi was dismissed two weeks ago as head of the Ninawa provincial government’s communication and media department. Colleagues said his newspaper articles drew attention to corruption and the lack of social services in the region.

Iraq was the deadliest country for journalists every year from 2003 to 2008, CPJ research shows. An overall improvement in security in 2009 was reflected in a relatively safer environment for journalists. In 2010, attacks on journalists and other media workers have spiked again, resulting in the deaths of six journalists and three media support workers in the second half of 2010 alone.

Iraq ranked 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. Not a single journalist murder since 2003 has been seriously investigated by authorities, and not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice, CPJ research shows.

Date posted: February 20, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 337