FPU and other press freedom groups call for investigation into Arkan Sharif murder

November 4, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Arkan Sharif worked for KDP affiliated Kurdistan TV

Four press freedom groups are calling on the Iraqi authorities both in Baghdad and Kurdistan to investigate the killing of Kurdish journalist Arkan Sharif and protect journalists from future attacks.

Arkan Sharif who worked for the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s official outlet Kurdistan TV as a cameraman was killed in the early hours of October 30 when several masked gunmen entered his house and stabbed him to death.

The statement released on November 2, by four prominent press freedom groups reads: “We are shocked by the news of journalist Arkan Sharif’s murder in front of his home in the city of Daquq (near Kirkuk), last Monday, the 30th of October. The killing of a journalist is an absolute low point in the escalating tensions related to the recent Kurdish independence referendum. Increasingly, the media has become a target in the escalating conflict. This must end now. Over the last 4 months (since May 2017), 3 journalists have been killed, 5 arrested and 3 journalists attacked.”

The statement was issued by four prominent Iraqi and international groups defending press freedom; Free Press Unlimited (FPU), International Media Support (IMS), Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) Media in Cooperation and Transition (MICT)  and Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).

Arkan Sharif, 49, father of three also ran a school in one of the villages in Daquq area in the south of Kirkuk. The motives of the crime are not known but the Iraqi police are investigating the crime. Iraqi authorities retook Kirkuk and areas in the south of the city and are currently responsible for maintaining security.

“Any attack on journalists and media outlets should be condemned in the strongest possible terms… In order to break the cycle of impunity in crimes against journalists, the perpetrators must be brought to justice,” the statement read.

The four groups called on the media in Iraq “ to adhere to their professional and ethical standards and to combat any reporting which could fuel hate speech and discrimination.”

Other human rights organisations also called on the Iraqi authorities to launch an impartial and thorough investigation into the killing of Mr. Sharif.

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