Working in a warzoneToday is Iraq National Press Day and the NUJ is joining journalists’ groups across the world in a global campaign to highlight the dangers faced by journalists in Iraq. Union members are heading to the Iraq Embassy (9 Holland Villas Road, W14 8BP) at 12.30, for a remembrance picket and to meet Dr Salah Al-Shaikhly, Iraq's Ambassador to the UK.
“It is undeniable that journalists and other media workers have been specially targeted during this war” said NUJ President Chris Morley. “Today thousands of journalists across the world will honour the memory of those that were selectively picked out and shot or bombed, but we also aim to highlight the needs of the survivors and the grieving families and will be urging governments to take urgent action to improve the safety of journalists.”
The campaign is coordinated by the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on behalf of its two Iraqi affiliates – the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate and the Kurdistan Journalists’ Union. The IFJ has counted 129 media victims (over 100 of whom are Iraqi) since the 2003, with several hundreds injured or disabled.
If you'd like more of a sense of what journalists in Iraq are up against, check out these two blogs written by Iraqi journalists, 'Shut up you fat whiner!' by Salam Pax (the original 'Baghdad Blogger', an NUJ member who often works for UK outlets) and one of his favourite blogs, 'Iraqi Screen', by Ishtar who posts regularly on stories she hears in her work as a journalist in and around Baghdad.