Middle East

Islamic State targets journalists in Iraq's Mosul

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivers a sermon at Mosul's Great Mosque in July 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption Equipment from a Mosul TV station was used to record a sermon by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Islamic State militants have killed at least 13 journalists and other media workers in Mosul since seizing the Iraqi city in 2014, a watchdog says.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said they were among the jihadist group's "priority targets".

The fate of least 10 of the 48 media workers who have been abducted there over the past 16 months is unknown.

RSF said IS had also taken control of local TV and radio stations, turning Mosul into an "information black hole".

Their studios and equipment were also seen as "spoils of war" and had been used to pursue "information offensives", according to the RSF's Middle East and Maghreb chief, Alexandra El Khazen.

Equipment seized from Sama Mosul TV is believed to have been used to record the sermon delivered by the group's leader and self-proclaimed "caliph", Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, at the city's Great Mosque in July 2014 - his first public appearance.

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Media captionMosul resident Mays tells the BBC about living in a town controlled by Islamic State

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IS has since used the same equipment to operate its own TV channel and radio station.

RSF's report, which was compiled with the Iraq-based Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, said 60 journalists had fled Mosul since it fall to IS.

"Some who went back paid for this mistake with their lives," it added.

The report said the bodies of some of the 13 media workers known to have been killed had been handed over to their families, but that in other cases it took weeks or months to confirm their deaths.