Threats against Iraqi journalist after political corruption revelations

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the death threats received by a well-known Iraqi journalist who published evidence of alleged political corruption, and calls on the Iraqi authorities to protect threatened journalists.

Nabil Jassim, the head of the Baghdad Today news agency, reported on 26 May that he has received phone calls warning that he would be killed if he revealed what he describes as Iraq’s “most important corruption case.” A report on the agency’s website gives the phone number from which the threatening calls were made.

An influential journalist with around 300,000 Facebook followers, Jassim said he received the calls after posting an Iraqi central bank document attesting to corruption involving members of a political party.

The National Union of Iraqi Journalists says it is “concerned” about the threats and has asked the interior ministry to take them seriously and provide Jassim with protection. The prime minister and interior minister have been given a letter on the subject by a member of the government.

“It is unacceptable that journalists should receive such threats as a result of investigative reporting that is in public interest,” RSF’s Middle East desk said. “The Iraqi authorities must guarantee Nabil Jassim’s safety and must find those responsible for these threats.”

Jassim has said he intends to continue publishing revelations about the case, despite the threats.

Iraq is ranked 156th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.