A duration between May 3, 2007 and May 3, 2008 has revealed new indicators to the reality of freedom of the journalists in Iraq, which can be described as a risk to the future of free media performances and pave the way for widening the governmental policy of prevention and repression. Violations against journalists marked a 60% increase over last year, which means one violation every 43 hours.
The systematic monitoring of violations recorded across the ground or by direct communications from victims, revealed that the escalation of attacks happening against journalists by beating and various forms of humiliation conducted by security forces and elements of special protections forces to prevent journalists from covering important events especially in explosions sites.
Journalism Freedoms Observatory has monitored, during the reported period, (197) violation against journalists and media organizations. These violations are as follows:
(88) violations and prevention attacks were conducted against journalists by the Iraqi security forces.
(37) murdering attacks by unknown gunmen
(30) arresting and detaining operations by the Iraqi security forces
(15) various violations attacks conducted by U.S. forces and local authorities and militias
(30) Abductions operations by unknown groups, (13) journalists were released (6) of them having been beaten or tortured because of their profession, and (6) were killed while the fate of the last one is still unknown
(9) Lawsuits filed by government officials against journalists and media organizations.
(5) Storming operations against media organizations by the U.S. and Iraqi forces.
Perhaps the most violations of this year was conducted by the security agencies and it is remarkable that some of the elements of those agencies did not comply with the orders and instructions of Prime Minister Nori AlMaliki issued on 4th of February of this year to facilitate the task of journalists, and ironically the Prime Minister’s privet forces conducted violations against journalists during the opening ceremony of a bridge in Kut city in southern Iraq on the same day in which the prime minister issued his orders.
The series of assaults against journalists by Iraqi security forces were collectively unpunished and without conducting investigations. Having witnessed attacks was in Algahdeer region where a large number of journalists and photographers were under severely attack which led to make one of them stayed in a hospital for four days because of the seriousness of his injury and that was in a daylight and in front of several eyewitnesses, which confirms that those who attacked the journalists on that day believing they were not be prosecuting.
Iraqi authorities are still dealing with this matter randomly, where they are calling for the freedom of the press and condemning the attacks on journalists on one hand, while their executive forces and judicial authorities , on the other hand ,are unable to prosecute the conductors of such constructive attacks.
Until the moment of writing this report, the assassinations attacks that have reached to 37 attacks during the period of preparing this survey considers as the greatest danger that threatening the lives of journalists are, two of them were conducted by American forces. The Journalistic freedoms observatory indicated that these attacks are not considering in seriousness by the security authorities and there is no progress in this aspect, although the authorities previously announced that they have concrete evidence condemns certain figures who involved in targeting the journalists. According to these evidence, the authorities will open all files of the murdering of journalists since the U.S. invasion in 2003 so far, which reached its entirety at about (234), the journalism freedom observer said. The most important one was the assassination of the general secretary of Journalists union, which was passed without taking decisive arrangements to arrest the doers and bring them to justice as promised by the competent authorities.
the journalists murdering attacks were often accompanied by the abduction operations,(13) press and media associate were facing abduction by unidentified men,(6) of them were released after having been beaten or tortured because of their profession, and(6)were killed while the fate of the last one remained unknown.
the Iraqi authorities are willing to control the free flow of information, but in spite of that,(30) journalists and associate press were arrested and detained by Iraqi security forces in areas of Kurdistan region and other governorates of Iraq. The press equipments of the arrested journalists had been confiscated, knowing that other government officials abused the laws for defamation to keep the journalists silence. (10) Lawsuits have been established against journalists and media organizations, mostly unresolved yet. These anti-free acts are despite of the existence of applicable laws which do not permit the arrest and prosecution of journalists only with the consent of the Prime Minister, and this did not happen in solving these issues, which show a lack of commitment to act these laws.
Media organizations were not immune from raiding and storming operations by the Iraqi the U.S. military forces and the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory recorded (5) cases of this type is equally shared by these forces without judicial orders to justify those raids to terrify workers in those institutions and confiscate their documents and archives, as it happened to (Almada) the information, culture and arts organization last year.
up to now, (the law of transparency) is not agreed, and by the absence of this law, the governmental organs are able to consider areas of military operations as closed areas for journalists despite the right of public opinion's need to know what is happening in these cities and districts.
This policy is similar way in applying bad emergency orders in some countries which intersect with the principle of freedom endorsed by the Iraqi constitution.
According to all these terrible violations, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory is surprised for the none consideration which is shown by the Iraqi and American military forces towards the international laws that protect journalists who perform their duties in areas of armed conflict from all forms of deliberate violence as long as they do not participate in hostilities. According to international humanitarian law, the insulters should not be protected and no immunity for those who violate its provisions. Violations have proved that these mentioned forces is considering as a major threat to journalists in addition to the risk of armed groups and militias.