Monday, January 30, 2006

Alive in Baghdad Cross-Post, January 30, 2006 This weekend showed us once again the dangerous situation facing correspondents in Iraq, as veteran correspondent and anchorman for ABC's World News Tonight was injured, along with his cameraman, by an IED attack near Taji. He appears to be in stable condition, but his future is still uncertain. But while the international media and the world focus their eyes on western correspondents, whose white skin, American voices, and charismatic faces are easy for them to relate to, what is happening to their Iraqi counterparts? I've recently had an article published by IPS, which I've posted at Alive in Baghdad. Although the situation in Iraq is dangerous for all journalists, the risks for Iraqi journalists, those who are going out into the streets and dangerous neighborhoods can be far greater and are often overlooked by the mainstream and western press. Here's an excerpt: As the war has progressed, Iraqi journalists increasingly appear to be targeted by the United States and other Coalition forces. Two Reuters journalists from Ramadi, Ali al-Mashhadani and Majed Hameed were detained, and finally released Jan. 15. "The United States forces arrested me for nothing, they had no proof against me," Hameed said after his release. "They knew I was innocent, and now I will continue my work as a journalist." Last week the U.S. authorities released Samer Mohammed Noor, who had been held for eight months without charge. "We are relieved at the release of Samer Mohammed Noor but we do not understand the reasons for keeping him in detention for more than eight months, particularly since there was no concrete evidence against him," the group Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. Yunis Khuthair, 38 year-old editor of Al Tahaddi newspaper was arrested by U.S. troops Sep. 23, 2003. At least he was charged. "They gave me many funny charges, like I tried to assassinate Tony Blair, I hid Saddam in my house, I cooperate with the terrorists," Khuthair told IPS. "But these were all fake." At least one Iraqi journalist, Abdel Amir Younes Hussein, is still in detention.. Reporters Without Borders (RSF, Reporters Sans Frontieres in French) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have both made repeated appeals for Hussein to be released. He has been in detention more than ten months.


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