Why Journalists in Iraq face Death Threats

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

To what extent can members of the media confidently say that freedom of the press in Iraq exists with so many threats made — and carried out — against journalists? These threats are well-documented and originate from many sources.

Alhadath daily newspaper reported April 5 that Baghdad-based journalist Diyaa Hussein was beaten by an unknown armed group after he exposed corruption involving the Iraqi Police Sports Club.

On Feb. 4, journalist Hadi al-Anbak accused businessman Salem Abdel Ayman Zaher of threatening to kill him because the reporter exposed alleged corruption in agricultural land investment projects in which Zaher is involved.

On May 20, 2015, Egypt Today reported that Kirkuk-based journalist Mohammad Mowaffaq told authorities he had received death threats, and unknown armed men had stopped him in his car and threatened to cut out his tongue if he didn’t quit journalism. The threats followed his investigative report on illegal arms trade.

On April 15, 2015, the Iraq Journalists Syndicate (IJS) reported TV journalist Ahmad al-Jassem was threatened, assaulted and detained for hours by some members of security forces in Babil province, south of Baghdad. He had recently reported on the lack of services in the country.

On April 11, 2015, Reuters reported its bureau chief in Baghdad was threatened on Facebook and was also criticized by an Iraqi TV channel because of his April 4 report on unlawful executions and looting in Tikrit by the Popular Mobilization Units fighting alongside the Iraqi army against the Islamic State. The reporter left the country because of the threats.

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