July 25, 2024

Press Freedom


Iraq October 12, 2006

H.E. Nuri Kamal al-Maliki
Prime Minister
Republic of Iraq
c/o Embassy of the Republic of Iraq
1801 P Street, NW
Washington , DC 20036

Your Excellency:

We are horrified at the continuing carnage among journalists in Iraq , and dismayed by your government’s new laws infringing on freedom of the media. According to The New York Times, four journalists were killed in Iraq in September alone, bringing the total since the 2003 invasion to 130; and at least a dozen Iraqi journalists have been charged with offending public officials. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least three Iraqi journalists have served time in jail for writing articles that were considered criminally offensive.

Your new press restrictions, some of which repeat provisions in the penal code imposed by Saddam Hussein, include a jail sentence of up to seven years for anyone who “publicly insults” the government or a public official. Such laws are in clear violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; in addition, they deny the basic principles of democracy and undermine your country’s progress. As we wrote you this past May in congratulating you on your selection as Prime Minister, press freedom is not a luxury that can be indulged only when times are safe and life is tranquil. In fact, it is particularly important to encourage unfettered reporting of fact and dissenting opinion when democracy is endangered, since openness and transparency are among the best defenses against tyranny and terror.

Far too many Iraqi journalists have been killed and wounded while reporting on the conflict, often by American or Iraqi armed forces. While we know it is difficult to protect journalists in the heat of combat, we ask you to use your influence both within your government and in liaison with U.S. forces to persuade the military that journalists are not the enemy, and to work out a satisfactory system of recognizable signs and symbols that will identify and protect journalists in conflict situations.

Thank you for your attention. We hope you will reply.

Respectfully yours,
Larry Martz
Kevin McDermott
Co-chairmen, Freedom of the Press Committee



Jalal Talabani


Office of the President


Republic of Iraq

c/o Embassy of the Republic of Iraq
1801 P Street, NW
Washington , DC 20036


Zalmay Khalilzad

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

U.S. Embassy – Baghdad , Iraq

c/o APO AE 09316


Said Shihab Ahmad

Charge d’Affaires

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq
1801 P Street, NW
Washington , DC 20036
Fax: (202) 462-5066

General George Casey

Commander, Coalition Task Force 7



Fax: (703) 270-0270


Senator John Warner

Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee

225 Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510

Fax: (202) 224-6295


Marshall Ingwerson

Managing Editor

The Christian Science Monitor

One Norway Street

Boston , MA 02115   


Hassan Fatah Pasha       


Iraq Today   



Pierre Taillefer

Executive editor

Agence France-Presse



The News Editor





Fax: (011.974) 442-6864


Mr. Waddah Khanfar, Managing Editor



Fax: (011.974) 488-5333