The second U.S. war with Iraq was the most lethal for journalists since World War II.
And that’s “more than those killed during 20 years of the Vietnam War or the civil war in Algeria” says Reporters Without Borders.
Two weeks after the U.S. Army’s last combat brigade pulled out of Iraq, RWB is “assessing the country’s seven years of American occupation in terms of press freedom,” it says in the intro to The Iraq War: a heavy death toll for the media.
“Although the coalition forces’ intervention put an end to Saddam Hussein’s regime, paving the way for a major expansion of the Iraqi media, the human toll of the war which ensued was nothing short of disastrous – too many people died”, it says, stating:
“The second U.S. war with Iraq has been the most lethal for journalists since World War II. To date, the number of journalists and media contributors killed in the country since the conflict broke out on 20 March 2003 stands at 230. That is more than those killed during the entire Vietnam War or the civil war in Algeria.
“Iraq has also been the world’s biggest market for hostages. Over 93 media professionals were abducted in those seven years, at least 42 of whom were later executed. Moreover, 14 are still missing.
“The situation grew considerably worse, reaching its most critical point in 2006, when community based attacks forced hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to flee their country. They were not only targeted by Sunni and Shiite militia, but also by al-Qaida, Iraqi security forces and American-led coalition forces. Worse still, they were subjected to arbitrary and illegal arrest by the U.S. Army.
In 2007, four years after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, “the Iraqi ministry of the interior initiated investigations into the circumstances surrounding the deliberate and targeted attacks on hundreds of information professionals in order to identify the perpetrators and bring them before Iraqi courts”, says the report, adding:
“Yet to date, only an insignificant number of cases have led to arrests.
“The majority of the killers are still enjoying total impunity, which is dampening hopes for a future democratic Iraq.”
Read the full report at Reporters Without Borders.