An Iraqi journalist and photographer working for The New York Times in Basra was found dead early Monday after being abducted from his home by a group of armed men wearing masks and claiming to be police officers, relatives and witnesses said.
The journalist, Fakher Haider, 38, was found with his hands bound and a bag over his head in a deserted area on the outskirts of Basra, in southern Iraq, hours after being taken from his house in that city. A relative who viewed his body in the city morgue said he had at least one bullet hole in his head and bruises on his back as if he had been beaten.
Mr. Haider had worked for The Times since April 2003 and had recently reported on the growing friction and violence among Basra's rival Shiite militias, which are widely believed to have infiltrated the police.
The above is from Robert F. Worth's "Reporter Working for Times Abducted and Slain in Iraq" in this morning's New York Times.
From the same article, we'll note Bill Keller's comments:
"This murder of a respected colleague leaves us angry and horrified," said Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times. "Fakher was an invaluable part of our coverage for more than two years. His depth of knowledge, his devotion to the story and his integrity were much admired by the reporters who worked with him."
You can read an example of Haider's work at Micheal Moore's site (the Times article is on car bombing). An example of his news photography can be found at MSNBC (it's the second photo).
More of his news photography can be found at Crisis Pictures.
He was outside the Green Zone. He tried to do his job. He died trying to be close enough to report reality. We'll note him here. Hopefully the Times will honor his dedication in the near future (if not today, see an entry posting later) by attempting to follow the pattern he set: go to where the story is.
From Reporters Without Borders, "Journalist shot dead in Basra, 68th killed in Iraq since start of war:"
Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the murder of Fakher Haydar Al-Tamimi, an Iraqi journalist who worked for several foreign news media including the New York Times. He was kidnapped and then shot in the head today in the southern city of Basra.
"We are very concerned about security in Basra, as two journalists have been killed there within two months," the press freedom organisation said. "It is becoming increasingly more difficult and dangerous for the press to operate in Irak. We call on the Iraqi authorities and the US-British military coalition to carry out a rapid and thorough investigation to identify those responsible and prevent any recurrence of such tragedies."
Tamimi was kidnapped from his home in his wife's presence by four men in plain clothes who reportedly told her they were police and wanted to interrogate her husband. His body was found with a bullet in the head a few hours later 3 km southwest of the city. He is the 68th journalist to be killed in Irak since the start of the war in March 2003, and the 19th since the start of this year.
A total of 63 journalists were killed in the Vietnam war, which lasted from 1955 to 1975. Two TV cameramen are also missing in Iraq : Frédéric Nérac of Britain’s ITV News, missing since 22 March 2003, and Isam Hadi Muhsin Al-Shumary of Germany’s Suedostmedia, missing since 15 August 2004.
P.J. suggested in his e-mail this morning that "MediaChannel.org Supports PROJECT 'K'" (a press release, so we're printing it in full) from Media Channel should be noted:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2005Contact: David DeGraw, MediaChannel, (212)246-0202 Ext. 3009, David@mediachannel.org
MediaChannel.org Supports PROJECT "K"
Begins Series on Global Media Effort To Shed Light On Murder of Journalist Paul Klebnikov
New York, September 19, 2005: Thirty years ago, journalists from dozens of news outlets joined hands (and pens) in Arizona after reporter Don Bolles was killed. A similar effort is now underway after last year's murder of Paul Klebnikov in Moscow.
The death of Paul Klebnikov, the Forbes magazine editor shot 10 times as he left his Moscow office in July 2004, was a blow to press freedom and transparency in Russia. That his killing remains a mystery is an ongoing challenge for investigative journalism worldwide.
To meet that challenge, a group of major media outlets and investigative reporters announced in July the launch of Project Klebnikov. Project K is a global media alliance committed to shedding light on the murder and some of the complex stories that Klebnikov was trying to untangle when he was silenced.
Project K was launched by top investigative reporter Richard Behar, most recently of Fortune, and a one-time colleague of Klebnikov's at Forbes. Allan Dodds Frank of Bloomberg, also a former Klebnikov colleague, promptly signed on.
"We were soon joined by Scott Armstrong and several prominent TV-news investigators who must remain anonymous," Behar told MediaChannel. "Bloomberg, The Economist, Forbes and Vanity Fair signed on as news-outlet members. The BBC's John Sweeney extended the project's reach into the UK, while just this week Michael Isikoff, Chuck Lewis and Knut Royce became the alliance's newest participants. We are flanked by seasoned investigative reporters with a wide spectrum of past media experience - at Business Week, 60 Minutes, Time magazine, the Washington Post, and many other outlets."
There are a number of theories as to who ordered the murder of Klebnikov, and within those theories are dozens of potential exposes and stories that need to be written and told.
"The hard work begins this autumn," says Behar. "In the case of Project K, members are encouraged to publish or broadcast stories at any time, and they follow the dictates, policies and practices of their news outlets. What we will provide is back-up reporting and support, a database of information and sources, and assistance in the structuring of joint ventures and cost-sharing (when feasible)."
"MediaChannel.org is proud to assist prominent journalists such as Richard Behar and the many other top investigators who have agreed to join the Project K team," says MediaChannel executive Rory O'Connor. "We laud the other journalism institutions who have agreed to become news-outlet members, and we encourage more to join."
"The Don Bolles Project was called 'the finest hour in American journalism' by the American Society of Journalists and Authors," adds MediaChannel Executive Editor Danny Schechter. "The investigative spirit of the 1970s desperately needs to be revived -and Project K is the perfect way to start."
MediaChannel.org's three-part series on the global media effort to shed light on the murder of journalist Paul Klebnikov will begin Tuesday, September 20th. Visit www.MediaChannel.org for further information.
So check back with Media Channel later today for more on Project K.
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