Insurgents Target Iraqi Media

Insurgents target Iraqi media (Miami Herald)

While the insurgents have grabbed headlines by taking foreign correspondents hostage, Iraqi journalists and their families have been in just as much danger. And in recent weeks, the insurgents seemed to have stepped up attacks against the country’s public television station and against a U.S.-funded Arabic-language station. Local journalists typically get the worst of it in war. ”Statistically, it is always the local correspondents that have the higher incidence of death than the foreign correspondents,” said Tala Dowlatshahi, of Reporters Without Borders.

Of the 32 journalists and 15 media assistants killed since the war began, 26 of them were Iraqi, according to Reporters Without Borders. The organization is concerned about a rise in attacks against foreign and local reporters this month.

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The insurgents have used foreign journalists to pressure countries to withdraw their forces from Iraq — without success. Iraqiya’s general director in Baghdad blamed Wazzan’s kidnapping and the other attacks on insurgents who want to pressure the station to stop airing interviews with captured bombers. The station began broadcasting the interviews, done in the Ministry of Interior, last week. ”We revealed the most dangerous terrorists,” Ahmed al Yassiry said. “When I started to show these interviews and reveal the truth about them, most Iraqis, even those who used to secretly support the terrorists, saw that these people don’t deserve to be called resistance fighters because they kill innocent people. ‘So Iraqiya now becomes one of [the insurgents’] enemies and they start kidnapping our employees, killing us,” he said. “They consider us an agent for the government or for the Americans.”

Like so many local journalists, Yassiry has told his children and his wife to never tell their friends he works for Iraqiya. ”All the employees here in Iraqiya hide their identities so they won’t jeopardize their families,” he said. But the anchors and journalists who appear on the news can’t hide from the insurgents. ”I consider all the presenters who show themselves on television heroes,” he said.

The fact that these people are afraid of having the truth reported indicates the weak position from which they operate. The election results would seem to be an indication that these desperate tactics are failing.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. paladin says:

    When you’re an Iraqi journalist, you don’t have the luxury of hiding in your hotel and sending out others to do your reporting, like US journos do. This has annoyed me for a long time. US journos admit they are afraid to leave their hotels, yet we’re supposed to take their reporting as real and accurate. The US press has really fallen down on reporting in Iraq.

  2. Brian J. says:

    Maybe Eason Jordan is so even-handed that he just got the sides mixed up.