In the line of fire: A deadly year for Iraqi journalists - Press Gazette

In the line of fire: A deadly year for Iraqi journalists

Iraqi journalist Ali Shafeya Al-Moussawi was found dead in his home on 14 December, bringing the total number of Iraqi journalists killed to 47 this year.

Al-Moussawi was a special correspondent for Alive in Baghdad, a website run by Small World News, which offers a series of short films about life in Iraq.

American journalist and film-maker Brian Conley worked with a small team of Iraqis, providing equipment and training for them to produce a short film every week documenting the lives of Iraqis in their own words. The site picked up a number of industry ‘Vloggie’awards last year.

A new journalist whose work had not yet been aired on the site, Al-Moussawi’s body was discovered by his cousin following a raid on his street by the Iraqi National Guard. According to a post on the Alive in Baghdad blog: ‘The morgue report says that Ali took 31 bullets between the chest and the head and died immediately.”

Al-Moussawi, who was 22, had lost two brothers in the Firdos Square bombing in Baghdad in 2005, and his father was kidnapped and killed. He is survived by his mother and sister, who are currently living in Syria and were dependent on Al-Moussawi.

Conley, who has since set up a similar project, Alive in Mexico, and has a team working in Syria, used Twitter to give updates of the death of Al-Moussawi.

One said: ‘Is it time to quit? We’re barely scraping by, not even making our costs, guys are getting killed. This is real. Maybe it’s time to close down?”

At the time of his death, Al-Moussawi was working on an investigative assignment for Alive in Baghdad, but Conley wrote that he was ‘not 100 per cent sure’whether the assignment caused his death.

Alive in Baghdad, which itself is reliant on donations for its survival, has raised more than $900 (£450) for Al-Moussawi’s funeral and his family.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, of the 124 journalists killed in Iraq since the war began, more than 80 per cent have been Iraqi.

In October, Shehab Mohammed al-Hitti, a journalist working for Baghdad News, was found dead following his abduction on his way to work. Salih Saif Aldin, who was working for The Washington Post, was shot dead in the Iraqi capital.

May to September saw the highest number of deaths of Iraqi journalists. According to Reporters Without Borders, a total of 11 were killed in May and in the following month, nine journalists were killed, including Sahar Hussein Ali al-Haydari, a freelance reporter for the National Iraqi News Agency and Aswat al-Iraq, a correspondent for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, who was shot as she left her home.

Five journalists were killed in July, including Khaled W Hassan, a journalist with the New York Times, who was shot and killed in Baghdad 24 hours after Namir Noor-Eldeene, an Iraqi photographer working for Reuters and his driver were killed by fire from a US helicopter.