Shingal (Sinjar): Iraqi army detains a TV crew for three hours

A crew of Chira TV arrested by the Iraqi army in Shingal. Chira TV

By KirkukNow in Ninewa

The Iraqi army forces have arrested three media men working for of a television channel in Sinjar district, west of Niewa province, and released them after several hours of investigation.

A reporter cameraman and a driver of Chira TV were arrested by the army unit while passing through a checkpoint on Monday evening.

"We were going to prepare a report, but the army stopped us at Qabail checkpoint and arrested us for not having Mosul administration work permit," Khairi Ali, a presenter and reporter for Chira TV, told KirkukNow.

According to a statement issued by Chira TV, the checkpoint requested a license from the Mosul administration for media work, while they have received an official license to work from the Iraqi federal government.

The staff and journalists were released by the army after three hours. Chira TV is a satellite channel focusing on Ezidi (Yazidi) community, considered close to the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK.

Kirkuk Naw tried to get a statement from the Iraqi army in Shingal via phone calls and WhatsApp but they declined to comment.

"They took us to Domiz military base, which is the headquarters of the Iraqi army in Shingal, where they asked us a number of questions and then we were released thanks to the efforts of YBŞ officials,” Ali said.

Shingal Resistance Units YBŞ is considered, affiliated to the PKK, is made up of local people, including the Yazidis, and operates under the control of the Shingal self-governing council.

"Most of our comrades have been arrested more than once by the army and this behavior is only against us though we have obtained license from Baghdad," Ali added.

Journalists face challenges as they are subject to detention and harassment by the Iraqi Security Forces ISF which send them to courts as criminals and view them as enemies, a matter led to retreat in media coverage in the disputed territories.

According to both the Iraqi Journalists' Rights Law and the Kurdistan Journalism Law, journalists are free to work and have the right to attend all conferences and public meetings for professional work.

The Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq PFAA, a local Iraqi organization, recorded 280 cases of various violations against Iraqi journalists last year (May 3, 2021 to May 2, 2022), with Baghdad and Erbil provinces ranking first with 56 violations, while Kirkuk ranked the second where 37 cases were reported.

According to the report, the violations included 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.

Shingal, located 120 west of Mosul, center of Ninewa province, on the border of Iraq-Syria, is home to the Ezidi religious minority considered by the so-called Islamic State ISIS as infidels. It's one of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil.

In the Ezidi-dominant region of Shingal, only three thousand square kilometers, Baghdad federal and Erbil regional governments compete to establish their rule: three local administrations want to administer the district, and eight different armed groups are deployed.

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