Iraqi journalist and radio commentator Hadi al-Mehdi was shot to death by gunmen in Baghdad on September 9. His killing is thought to be related to his public criticism of the government. Al-Mehdi mobilized Facebook followers on a weekly basis to protest in Tahrir Square. He also hosted radio show “To Whoever Listens,” airing three times a week, but left the show in July fearing for his safety. Al-Mehdi has been attacked before, recently had been receiving daily phone, texts, and social media threats, some threats warning him not to return to protests. In February 2011, Army troops arrested, tortured and later released al-Mehdi and several other journalists. In 2009, gunmen attempted to kill al-Mehdi, and shot him in the neck and head.
Freedom House supports recent demands by local journalists and freedom of expression advocates in the Middle East and North African region for reform of state media organizations as well as the repeal of restrictive media laws and condemns increased crackdowns on journalists during the current political turmoil.