Shifa Gardi: Tributes paid to reporter killed in Mosul

Kurdish journalist was killed by a roadside bomb blast while covering the Iraqi forces’ push against ISIL in Mosul.

Shifa - Rudaw
Colleagues and friends paid tribute to the Rudaw journalist [AP]

Politicians, journalists and members of the public have joined together in mourning after news of the death of Shifa Gardi, the Iraqi Kurdish TV journalist killed in a roadside bomb blast while covering clashes between Iraqi forces and ISIL in Mosul.

Rudaw, Gardi’s employer, on Sunday posted images showing the 30-year-old journalist’s burial place in Erbil, praising her as someone “who cracked the glass ceiling” with her coverage of the operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The hashtag #ShifaGardi also trended on social media, with many paying tributes, expressing condolences and sharing photos of Rudaw’s presenter and chief of output.

In a social media post, Kurdish Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani called her death “tragic”.

“She joins a list of irreplaceable people lost in this war,” Talabani said.

Inside the Erbil-based headquarters of Rudaw, a media group in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, photos and bouquet of flowers were placed at Gardi’s empty desk. 

“Shifa was not only a smart journalist, but also a very serious and loyal person,” Ako Mohammed, executive director of Rudaw, was quoted as telling a crowd who had gathered to pay respect to her body outside the network’s offices on Saturday. 

Danger for journalists

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Gardi’s death “underscores the continuing risk the journalists in Iraq face while doing their jobs”.

Robert Mahoney, the CPJ deputy executive director, said journalists covering the conflict in Iraq “have shown remarkable bravery and commitment to their work, and all sides in the conflict should honour that commitment by ensuring that they can do their jobs safely”.

Namo Abdulla, Washington bureau chief of Rudaw, wrote on social media that the slain journalist was a “great friend and colleague”. 

Other journalists also posted similar tributes.

Gardi’s cameraman, Younis Mustafa, was also wounded in Saturday’s blast.

Gardi was presenting a daily special programme on the Mosul offensive.

On February 21, while covering the operation, Gardi saved a wounded rabbit in the village of Albu Saif, Rudaw said, citing the moment she returned to the newsroom with the animal in her arms.

The military operation to retake Iraq’s second-largest city from ISIL was launched in October last year, and in January its eastern half was declared “fully liberated”.

Mosul is ISIL’s last major urban stronghold in Iraq, but the battle to retake its western half is expected to be the most challenging yet, since the streets are older, narrower and it is densely populated with an estimated 750,000 civilians trapped in the area.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies