Thursday, April 06, 2006

Baghdad's short on papers…but not for too long.

Some readers questioned the authenticity of our Tuesday report about a ban on newspapers imposed by the terrorists in Baghdad and I do not blame them because they have the right to have doubts since no other news sources confirmed our story as of now.

So, I took the time to make a few phone calls until I got a confirmation for the story from a senior Baghdad journalist who writes for one of Iraq's most read newspapers. He asked me not to reveal his name or the name of the paper he writes for.
The journalist had this to tell me:

The story began a long time ago when certain papers were banned in Ramadi namely al-Sabah and Azzaman.
Later-that's four or five days ago-the 'Khalid' bookshop in al-Rabee' Street in Hay al-Jami'a was attacked with an explosive charge. This bookshop is considered one of the distribution points for newspapers in the western half of Baghdad.
In the eastern half of Baghdad the threats took two forms, the workers in distribution offices in Bab al-Mu'addam found death notes all over the street in the early morning while they were trying to open their offices and shops while in the Aadhamiya district, death notes and threats were delivered in a more personal manner to the bookshops owners.

There's also this post from a new Iraqi blogger (also a journalist) that talks in detail about the same incident of 'Khalid' bookshop.
I have also learned today from a man who runs one of the biggest distribution businesses in Baghdad that the overall distribution of newspapers through his office has fallen by more than 40% this week.
He also handed me a copy of one of those death notes which you can see here: (I know, but I didn't have the time or desire to translate this hatred talk)

There seems to be some good news coming though, this man told me that they are expecting the distribution averages to recover as soon as next week as "more people in the trade are making the decision to defy the threats".

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