Nearly 500 Journalists Killed in Iraq in the Last Two Decades

Safety of journalists is a long way from being secured. Yet no journalist deserves to be killed simply for their exercise of freedom of expression.

The vast majority of killers of journalists continue to get away with murder, according to CPJ’s 2022 Global Impunity Index, marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

According to the New York-based International Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Iraq is the fifth in the overall Index rankings.

Most of the murders occurred as Iraq was immersed in war, but even now, as authorities claim stability, they have failed to bring justice in a single case.

Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq, respectively, round out the top five countries on the index, which covers the period September 1, 2012, to August 31, 2022.

 Each of these countries has featured on CPJ’s index multiple times, with their history of conflict, political instability, and weak rule of law underscoring the entrenched nature of impunity and making it unlikely that authorities will ever devote resources to seeking justice for the journalists.

Since the US 2003 invasion, 495 journalists were killed in Iraq, including 36 female journalists and 30 Arab and foreign journalists, head of the Martyrs Department of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate Sanaa Naccache revealed.

Most of them were killed by the US army during and after the 2003 invasion, she added.

The indicators of impunity for the killers of journalists in Iraq are divided into two parts. The first is cumulative and related to the total number of murders, which reached more than 400 crimes.

The second part is related to the annual indicators. Between 2020 and 2022, no murders were reported against journalists, and 4 murder hearings out of 5 took place in 2019.

This proves that impunity for the killers of journalists have notably declined over the past few years by 93%. However, impunity in online threats exceeded by 95%.

Speaking to us, head of the Iraqi Association for Defending the Rights of Journalists Ibrahim Al-Sarraj affirmed that impunity has been rising high in the country as most of the crimes were reported against unknown persons.

The reason is the security services’ lack of seriousness in investigating the crimes against journalists, he continued.

In this regard, we held the Iraqi security services full responsibility for the unprecedented rising rates of impunity for crimes against journalists in the country.

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