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Group Charges Iraq with Suppressing Press Freedoms

Rubberball/Mike Kemp(WASHINGTON) -- Journalists in Iraq have much to fear, a local rights group has charged.

That fact was already documented in media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders’ 2011-2012 World Press Freedom Index, which listed Iraq 152nd out of 179 countries for press freedom.

Now, the Journalism Freedoms Observatory says things are getting worse in Iraq.

Issuing a report ahead of Thursday's World Press Freedom Day, the JFO alleged that government forces have stepped up attacks and arrests of media workers during the past year, in addition to restricting their movements.

Listing examples of the growing trend against journalists, the JFO claimed three members of the media were killed over the past year, seven survived assassination attempts, 31 were beaten by Iraqi security and 65 journalists were arrested.

There have also been dozens of instances of banned media coverage, blocked movement of reporters and cameras destroyed or confiscated. On top of that, two media organizations were raided and a radio station was shuttered.

What's more, the JFO says that Iraqi lawmakers are introducing a series of bills to put legal clamps on "freedom of the press, general freedom of expression and Internet use."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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