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.
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.