July 30, 2011
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory condemns Major General Abdul-Karim Al-Khazraji of Salah ad Din police command attacks against the local media teams and journalists in the city of Tikrit.
Police members assaulted journalists, threatened and tortured them; they attacked some of media institutions and deliberately intervened in the broadcasting process.
Some journalists working in Salah ad Din TV channel complained the police General Manager’s misbehavior and harassments and abuse through their cell phones right after the bombings took place on Thursday.
Those journalists and other different media outlets told the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory that Al-Khazraji insulted the staff of Salladin TV channel and accused them of terrorism because of airing footages and videos of the suicide attack which targeted soldiers and civilians near Al-Rafidain Bank in the center of Tikrit. The explosion caused the killing of 15 people, including three soldiers, wounding 38, damaging 3 cars and some shops.
The staff of the channel told JFO that Maj. Gen. Al-Khazraji "threatened us by sexually abuses us if we continue covering the bombings”. He described us as “indecent and trivial men”
On the other hand, military forces arrested a photographer works for the same channel and inhumanly treated him while he was on mission accompanying some local officials.
"After the explosion in central city of Tikrit, I went to cover the event which was very near to the building of the channel, but when the soldiers saw me heading towards the bombing scene, they attacked me, beaten me hardly, handcuffed me and put me in a car under the hot sun for more than one hour" Haider Abid Hassan, a cameraman, said.
"They also accused me of practicing terrorist act and threatened me not to publish and disclose what they did to me" Haider added.
on April 13, a force of anti-riot police raided Salah ad Din TV channel and tried to stop airing the talk show program about the withdrawal of the US troops, The force also tried to arrest the show guest and the work team, but the TV channel management succeeded in preventing them doing that.
On February, 25, the military and security forces in Salah ad Din Province closed four local radio stations; they are Salah ad Din FM, Deratna Radio, BEJI Radio and Balad radio. The closure lasted for one week time.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory explained in its latest annual report that the violations and attacks against journalists and other media workers between May 3, 2010 to May 3, 2011, increased to 55% compared to the last year. The 372 violations recorded by the JFO revealed that there were real attempts to limit the media outlets’ roles and to put pressure to prevent them doing their missions.
JFO refers Major General Abdul-Karim Al-Khazraji to the Iraqi Constitution and asks him to respect the democratic system, and calls on the security and military forces to deal in better humanly way in dealing with journalists and media institutions.