The two sides of media in Iraq:
The number of foreign journalists in Baghdad is declining sharply, a media withdrawal that reflects Iraq’s growing stability and the financial strains faced by some news organizations.
In a stark indication of the changing media focus here, the number of journalists traveling with American forces in Iraq has plummeted in the past year. U.S. military officials say they “embedded” journalists 219 times in September 2007. Last month, the number shrank to 39. Of the dozen U.S. newspapers and newspaper chains that maintained full-time bureaus in Baghdad in the early years of the war, only four are still permanently staffed by foreign correspondents. CBS and NBC no longer keep a correspondent in Baghdad year-round.
“It remains important and it remains interesting,” said Alissa J. Rubin, the New York Times‘ acting bureau chief in Baghdad. “But what’s in front of us now is almost a static situation. There’s not a clear narrative line. The stories are more complex.”
The Ministry of Interior has reopened the case of scores of Iraqi journalists who were either assassinated or kidnapped in the past few years, a senior ministry official said.
Lt. Gen. Abdulkarim Khalaf said Iraqi police have begun investigating at least 49 files related to Iraqi journalists killed or kidnapped in the spiral of violence that engulfed the country since the 2003-U.S. invasion.
Khalaf said the ministry was coordinating its efforts with a non-governmental body on press freedoms with the regard to all the cases which it could not pursue in the past.
Scores of Iraqi journalists have been killed or kidnapped but none of the perpetrators has ever been brought to justice.