6 October 2010

Cameraman killed in targeted bomb explosion

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An Iraqi cameraman was killed on Monday - the latest in a series of targeted attacks on journalists over the past few weeks, report Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Tahrir Kadhim Jawad, a cameraman for the Arabic-language service of the U.S. TV channel Al-Hurra, was on his way to work near Jasr al-Korma when a bomb placed under his car exploded in Garma, 50 miles west of Baghdad.

Jawad had worked as a journalist for seven years, first as an editor with the weekly "Al-Karma", and then as a freelance cameraman who supplied several television broadcasters with footage.

Since the U.S. military withdrawal began in August, violence against journalists has been on the rise and "has continued in a climate of total impunity," says RSF. Two television journalists were gunned down on consecutive days in September. The perpetrators remain at large.

In some cases, the violence has been perpetuated by the Iraqi security forces. Members of the Iraqi army were behind an extremely violent attack on a reporter and cameraman of satellite TV station Al-Sharqiya on 23 September, says RSF.

According to RSF, impunity is "undermining the possibilities of a free and independent press in Iraq." Since March 2003, journalists' murderers have been tracked down and sentenced in less than 1 percent of cases.

In the study "The Iraq War: A Heavy Death Toll for the Media", released in August, RSF pays homage to the 230 media professionals who were killed during Iraq's seven years of occupation by the coalition forces - the deadliest war for journalists since World War II.

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