Dear Mr. Staff Lt. General, Ahmed Hashim Oda Sultan, esteemed commander of Baghdad’s operations.
Dear Mr. Staff Lt. General, Hussein Jasim Mohammed Al Awadi, esteemed deputy commander of Baghdad’s operations.
Journalistic Freedoms Observatory would like to draw your attention to several issues affecting the freedom of the press in Iraq, where our organization has documented a number of assaults and harassments committed by military forces and security apparatus under the command of Baghdad’s operations commandership against reporters during the last few months.
While it congratulates you on your appointment as a commander of Baghdad’s operations, Journalistic Freedoms Observatory invites you to put up with your ethical and professional responsibilities towards Iraqi journalists and media, and their professional institutions in the next phase of your job.
Recalling some of the positive measures taken by former commander of Baghdad’s operations, Staff Lt. General Abood Qanbar, for the journalists, Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, expresses concern about the persistence of certain actions that are contrary to the spirit of democracy and intersect with the Iraqi constitution.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory is requesting from your commandership a set of procedures that will push forward facilitating the tasks of journalists and to ease restrictions which limit and prevent them from performing their duties, we are looking forward establishing distinguished relationship between journalists and military and security leaderships in order to avoid any restrictions or constraints that impact negatively on the professional performance.
We affirm our belief in the role of security services of army and police to play in maintaining security and safety of the community, and because journalists are parts of the social component, therefore we put some suggestions before you, hoping that you will be interested in them.
These suggestions are:
- Making a new mechanism to prevent assaults on journalists and to ease restrictions and procedures that impede their work.
- Abolition of the need for granting licenses and approvals for practicing journalism which was implemented by Baghdad’s operations commandership previously considering that this principle is contrary to the teachings of the Iraqi constitution.
- Issue orders to the security forces and army troops to stop the use of force to harass or to prevent journalists from doing their job.
We would like to mention that these proposals have been welcomed, earlier, by the general commander of the armed forces, Mr. Noori Al-Maliki, who has issued a statement in which he directed the interior and defense ministries and state institutions, to facilitate the mission of journalists and correspondents of the satellite channels and protect them in order to enable them perform their duties.
He stressed in the same statement, issued in April 2008, to take deterrent measures against anyone who would be approved to be conducting a behavior that might abuse journalists and media workers and violate their rights and freedoms, and to hold violators of this directive.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory expresses enough confidence in the sincere intentions that would urge your esquire to take all measures that will lead to help journalists and their technical assistants to reach the site of action and the information.
Journalistic Freedoms Observatory wishes the success in developing a strategy, different from the previous one, for the protection of journalists in the next phase.
Thank you in advance for your attention to these important issues. We are looking forward hearing from you.