Iraq - Government newspaper editor becomes 15th journalist held hostage in Iraq



    MONTREAL, June 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders voiced concern
today at the news that another Iraqi journalist, Filaih Wadi Mijthab, was
kidnapped yesterday in Baghdad. He is the 15th journalist currently held
hostage in Iraq without any claim of responsibility or ransom demand being
sent to relatives or colleagues.
    "We would like to express our support for the family of Mijthab, the 79th
journalist to be kidnapped since the start of the war," the press freedom
organisation said. "Attacks on the press are, with few exceptions, left
unpunished and are now taking place almost every day. If it were not for the
courage of the journalists who continue to work, nothing would be said about
Iraq, and this deadliest of wars would go unreported."
    Until 2003, Mijthab was a reporter for the daily Al-Tharwa and belonged
to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. After the US-led invasion and his newspaper's
closure, he became the editor of the government daily Al-Sabah, which is part
of the US-funded Iraqi Media Network. In the space of a few years, he emerged
as an important and influential figure in Iraqi journalism.
    Several vehicles forced his car to stop when he was being driven with his
son yesterday in Al-Hadidiah, a district that is part of the Sadr City suburb
of Baghdad. Gunmen took him away but left his son and driver.
    Journalists and media assistant, especially Iraqis, are often the targets
of kidnapping, which has become commonplace in Iraq. A total of 79 media
workers have been abducted since the start of the war in March 2003. Of these,
41 were eventually released, 23 were murdered and 15 are still being held.
    An appeal for the release of the 16 journalists held hostage worldwide
will be launched by Reporters Without Borders on the Champ de Mars in Paris on
20 June with the support of 100 news media from all over the world.




For further information:

For further information: Emily Jacquard, Directrice générale, Reporters
Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514) 521-7771,
rsfcanada@rsf.org

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