Three Iraqi journalists were found dead today in a remote area north of Bagdad. One of the victims, Atwar Bahjat, was a prominent reporter for Al-Arabiya television, and was the seventh woman journalist killed since the beginning of the Iraq war. She and two colleagues were reporting live from the edge of Samarra, on the bombing at the Shiite shrine when two gunmen approached screaming, “We want the correspondent!” The three were kidnapped, and their bodies found bullet ridden and abandoned six miles north of where they were originally abducted.
This incident draws attention to the dangers facing Iraqi journalists, which are often overlooked in the Western media. While American journalists are kidnapped and used to attract international attention, their Iraqi counterparts are often killed without delay, their lives of little value to insurgents. Take for example Jill Carroll, for whom Sunday marks her50th day in captivity—her Iraqi translator, Allan Enwiyah, who was found dead on the side of the road on the day of the abduction.
According to al-Jazeera, when reporters asked Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, to permit journalists to carry weapons for personal protection, he instructed them to send an official request. This could be a significant development considering that 82 journalists and media assistants have been killed since the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003. It will be interesting to see how arming journalists will play out. Will the same rules apply to both Iraqi and international journalists alike, for instance?