The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Wednesday called on Iraqi authorities to carry out an immediate investigation into an attack on the Baghdad office of the Al Ta'khi newspaper last Monday.
According to reports, the Al Ta'khi office was attacked by masked armed men using police cars. The paper's journalists and staff were threatened and ordered to stop issuing the paper and to move out of Baghdad. Administrative and financial files and archives were stolen, along with three cars owned by the paper. "We join our affiliates in Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan region to express our anger and condemnation at this violent attack which was clearly designed to intimidate and strike fear into media workers at the Al Ta'khi newspaper," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "We demand an immediate and detailed investigation into the incident to ensure that those responsible face the full weight of justice for their crimes," he said in a statement.
"The situation for media workers in Baghdad and across Iraq is becoming more and more dangerous every day," he noted. "Authorities in Iraq have a duty to increase protection for the freedom, rights and lives of journalists. If they do not then more attacks will occur and more lives will be lost," warned Boumelha.
The IFJ said it has published a special handbook designed for journalists working in the Arab World and Middle East which provides practical safety advice and information for them .
The Brussels-based IFJ represents more than 600, 000 journalists in 134 countries.