29 journalists killed in Iraq in 2015: Report

Baghdad: A total of 29 journalists were killed in violence-ridden Iraq in 2015, many of them executed by the extremist Islamic State (IS) group, an Iraqi journalists’ body said on Tuesday.

The latest count by the syndicate brings the death toll of journalists in the country to 435 since the US-led invasion in 2003, Xinhua reported.

There is fear for the safety of the journalists who are vulnerable to more attacks in the absence of law and ignorance in some government departments about the positive role of the press in correcting the course of political performance and detecting errors, said a report by the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate.

The report showed that IS terrorists executed 20 journalists in and near the IS-held city of Mosul during the year.

Three others were killed while covering battles against the IS extremist militants while six others were killed in violence in Baghdad and Iraqi cities.

According to the report, more than 43 offences were registered against journalists during the year, ranging from abduction, beating and raids on their headquarters and houses to prevent them from reporting.

Such killings came despite some positive indicators like increasing confirmations by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi toward rejecting any kind of offences against journalists, and his orders to set up investigative committees to follow up any offence that might happen against journalists, it added.

Observers blame the current chronic instability, violence and emergence of extremist groups, such as the IS, on the US which invaded Iraq in March 2003 under the pretext of seeking to destroy weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the country.