Kirkuk ranked second after Baghdad and Erbil

280 violations against journalists in Iraq

Erbil, 2010: A protest demonstration to put an end to impunity for the murderers of the freelance journalist Sardasht Othman. Facebook account of Bashdar Othman, brother of Sardasht Othman

By KirkukNow

The Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq PFAA monitored 280 cases of violations against journalists from May 3, 2021 to May 2, 2022 per which Baghdad and Erbil ranked first with 56 violations, followed by Kirkuk province with 37 cases.

On May 3, 2022, which marks World Press Freedom Day, the PFAA published a special report on violations committed against journalists in Iraq.

According to the report, 280 cases of violations were recorded from May 3, 2021 until yesterday, Monday, May 2, including assassination attempt, storming and armed attacks, abduction, death threats, abuse during coverage, filing lawsuits for intimidation according to laws drafted during “the dictatorship era” in reference to the rule of Baath Party chaired by Saddam Hussein, arrest and detention, beatings, prevention and obstruction of coverage, TV channel closure and illegal layoffs.

"As in previous years, the association recorded 192 cases of assault and prevention and obstruction of coverage. This year, the beatings were not limited to men journalists, but also included women journalists inside Iraq, including journalist Nour al-Tamimi, who was subjected to beatings and detention while performing her work,” the report of the association stated.

36 cases of arrest and detention without arrest warrants

The association also recorded 36 cases of arrest and detention without arrest warrants, and 10 cases of death threats and physical liquidation.

The Association for Defending Press Freedom in Iraq is a non-governmental association founded by a group of Iraqi journalists and annually publishes a report about violations committed against journalists in Iraq.

With regard to the distribution of violations according to the provinces, the Kurdistan region of Iraq KRI came in first place with 8) violation cases, and Erbil took the lead in the number of violations, as it witnessed 56 cases, with the capital, Baghdad.

Kirkuk was ranked the second with 37 cases of violations, followed by Ninewa with 27 cases, and then Basra with 23.

The local and international organizations, human rights advocates members of the Iraqi and Kurdistan parliaments MPs expressed their grave concern that that press freedom is increasingly under threat all over Iraq including the KRI.

Iraq section of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Iraq in 2021, by the Bureau of Democracy, human rights and labor, documented human rights issues based credible reports of: serious restrictions on free expression and media, including violence or threats of violence against journalists, unjustified arrests and prosecutions against journalists; serious restrictions on internet freedom; substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

“A media environment in which press outlets were closely affiliated with specific political parties and ethnic factions, an opaque judiciary, and a still-developing democratic political system combined to place considerable restrictions on freedom of expression, including the press,” said the 2021 Human rights practices in Iraq by the US department of State, out early April 2022.

“The KRG’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) prioritized access to the outlets they owned.  In KDP strongholds, Kurdistan Television, Rudaw, and K24 had access to all public places and information, while in PUK-dominated Sulaymaniyah Province, Kurdsat News and GK Television enjoyed the same privilege.  Conversely, outlets belonging to opposition parties or lacking party affiliation had limited access to public information in the IKR,” the report explains.

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