Late Thursday, The Committee to Protect journalists (CPJ) issued a statement condemning the execution-style killing of 11 Iraqi broadcasters, including five journalists.
“The brazen nature of this attack demonstrates that those who seek to silence the press operate without any fear at all," said Executive Director Joel Simon. "Iraq’s emergent press will find it hard to survive if authorities allow these kinds of targeted attacks to continue unchecked.”
According to the committee, 11 employees of satellite TV station Al-Shaabiya in Baghdad were killed by gunmen who broke into the station and executed them, wounding two others. All wore masks, some police uniforms according to reports. It was the deadliest day for journalists since the Iraq war began in 2003.
The station, which had not launched yet, was run by the National Justice and Progress Party, which is described as a mix of Sunni's Shiites and Kurds.
According to free press group Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, the dead were chairman and general manager Abdul-Rahim Nasrallah al-Shimari; bodyguard, Ali Jabber; deputy general manager Noufel al-Shimari; presenters Thaker al-Shouwili and Ahmad Sha’ban; administrative manager Sami Nasrallah al-Shimari; video mixer Hussein Ali; the station's general manager, who was not indentified, and three guards.
The injured were Program manager Mushtak al-Ma’mouri and news chief Muhammad Kathe, in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds.
Despite the decimation of its staff, the station sill plans to launch at the end of the month, according to the committee.