No free press in Iraq

Attacks on both local and international journalists across Iraq have not stopped to this day, finds Al Jazeera.

Obama had high praise for the state of press freedom in Iraq, at a press conference in 2011 (Gallo / Getty)
Baghdad, Iraq – Iraq has been one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists since 2003.

While scores of newspapers and media outlets blossomed across Baghdad following the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime in the spring of 2003, the media renaissance was also met with attacks on both local and international journalists across the country – that have not stopped to this day.

Iraq was the deadliest country in the world for journalists every year from 2003 to 2008, the third deadliest in 2009, and the second deadliest in 2010 and 2011, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

CPJ documents 150 journalists killed in Iraq since 2003, a number, as high as it is, which pales in comparison to that logged by the group Brussels Tribunal (BT).

Logging the name, date, incident description, and source when available, BT reports that 341 Iraqi journalists and media workers have been killed since the invasion.

Adding to the overt physical risks from a dangerous security situation and threats of kidnapping, Iraqi journalists have told Al Jazeera that they now face threats from the Iraqi government itself, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Adnan Hussein, the editor-in-chief and deputy director of Iraq’s Al-Mada newspaper, one of the largest in the country, wrote an article about then-Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari in 2006.

“I mentioned that he talked too much, so I received an email from one of his supporters,” Hussein explained at his office in Baghdad. “The email said: ‘If you are in Baghdad we will kill you and throw you in the garbage like the dogs’.”

“So how is our situation?” Hussein asked. “Certainly we are afraid. I give you this example, and it still exists today.”

Read the full story at Al Jazeera English.