The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has issued a renewed call for the Iraqi government to step up protection for journalists in the country following the latest appalling murder of two journalists in the province of Babel yesterday morning, Sunday, 9 March.
According to IFJ affiliate, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate (IJS), cameramen Muthanna Abdul Hussein and Khaled Abdel Thamer, who were working for the Al Iraqia TV Channel, were killed in an explosion caused by a suicide bomber who was targeting the al Athar check point at the northern entrance of the city of Hilla.
The IJS says the cameramen were covering the distribution of voting cards from the police electoral center in the city when the attack occurred.
The murder of the journalists occurs during an escalation in violence in Iraq. A total of 14 journalists have now been murdered in the country since October last year.
“We express our deepest sympathies to the family and colleagues of the journalists Muthanna Abdul Hussein and Khaled Abdel Thamer at this tragic time,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha (pictured). “We urge journalists working in the country to maintain their vigilance and take every measure to protect their safety at all times.”
Last December, the IFJ welcomed the news that the government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRG) had established a committee to monitor investigations into the killing of the journalist Kawa Mohamed Ahmed “Garmyani,” and the Federation continues to urge the Iraqi government to take similar action.
“We reiterate our call for the Iraqi government to set up a special task force to conduct detailed and independent investigations into the murders of our colleagues Muthanna Abdul Hussein and Khaled Abdel Thamer, and the many other journalists who have lost their lives while carrying out their duty.“