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Local Officials & Extremists are Chasing Iraqi Journalists

 

22/08/2015

 

Iraqi journalists in different Governorates of the country which have been exposed to multiple assaults and death threats by local officials and elements has belong to armed factions linked to the Popular Mobilization unite, because of  their media coverage of the popular demonstrations taking place in the central and southern Iraqi provinces, but the spokesperson of the Popular Mobilization  has denied participation his gays of  in the demonstrations, and he warranty  about impersonating the identity of such elements in the demonstration area.

 

The capital Baghdad which have a systematic attacks against the local reporters who works for Al-Baghdadiya, Al-Mada and Al-Sharqia channels over two weeks ago, in front of  eye' security forces that did not take any action to protect the reporters and teams, while some of representative  party has led instigating campaigns against local and foreign media outlets.

 

Last Friday, some persons who alleged affiliation to the popular mobilization commission attacked and kicked reporters and photographers who works for  Al-Mada, Al-Sharqia and Al-Baghdaiya Channels, and destroy their press equipment.

 

The reporters and photographers of these Channels confirmed for The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO)  the attacks. The reporter of “Al-Baghdadiya” Channel (Mustafa al-Rubaie), said that his colleagues, (Hisham Mohammed)and (Dhafar Al-Mandoub), have been severely beaten the day before yesterday and their equipment have been smashed by individuals dressed in civilian clothes before the sight of the security forces while they were recording interviews with some of the protester.

 

Also, The team of Iraqi local channel ( al mada) who works to covering the Iraqi protest last week, have been beaten by some gays which belong to the ( PMU), according to the witnesses, moreover, the cameraman (Ahmed Mushir) and his Assistant (Ahmed Natheer) and confiscated their video recordings of the protests, and told them that the reason for this is, because their Channel broadcasted the assault news on some of demonstrators and media men which occurred last week.

 

The Spokesman of (PMU), Mr.Karim al-Nuri, told the (JFO) that "the participation in the demonstrations is civilian, and that the PMU are fighting the terrorist group ISIL or ISIS, while demonstrators are fighting the corrupt in the area of protests.

 

(Al-Nouri), also warned of "wearing PMU's uniforms or impersonating the identity of PM’s members, and stressed on “maintaining peaceful demonstrations", refusing to "transform the area of protests into military barracks."

 

 The (JFO) representative in holy Karbala City, said that during the protests of Friday last week, the Photographer of Al-Hurra Channel, (Salman Al-Yasiri) and the Correspondent of (Huna Baghdad) Channel, were assaulted by some people believed to be affiliated to powerful political parties in the province, who confiscated their press equipment.

 

In Najaf Province, the Journalist, (Dhia Hashim Al-Griffi), who worse as an Editor in Chief for the local magazine it name AL "Najaf Now”, has been directly assaulted and beaten last week, by the Deputy Governor, Talal Bilal when he met him by chance in a restaurant in the central of the city.

 

On the other hand, (Raji Nasir),the  Correspondent of Al-Hurra Iraq Channel, in Najaf, told (JFO), that the attacks, which affected Al-Baghdadiya and Al-Iraqia Channels teams and other journalists in the city during the protests "are disturbing and must be firmly confronted by the security services because they raise concerns for all journalists in the country ".

 

In the south of Iraq, Basra City, witnessed intimidation campaign against the local journalists; some unknown entities, distributed last week, handouts bearing the following phrase: "you disbelieved in God and you threatened us” threatening the correspondents who were covering the popular protests in the city,

 

The statement, which was published and distributed in Basra areas by a group calling itself “the Champions of Iraq" accused the journalists and reporters to "encroach upon the political and religious symbols" and threatened them to death.  The same statement was instigative against the following journalists and correspondents: (Badr Al Sulaiti) who works for Al-Merbid Radio, (Haider Abbas Al-Hilfi) the Correspondent for Al-Sharqia News, and (Muntadher Al-Karkushi) who is works for Al-Amel Radio, as well as ,the Activists, (Shihab Ahmed), who works with Press Freedom Advocacy Association (PFAA).

 

 Under Iraqi law, "anyone who attacks a journalist while carrying out his profession or because of performing it shall be charged with the penalty prescribed for those who attack an employee during performing his job or because of it." in accordance with Article 9 of  Journalists' rights Law which was enacted in 2011.

 

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) holds the Iraqi Security Forces responsibility  for the safety of all reporters and photographers who presents in the area of protests, and calls these forces to comply with the laws, prosecute all persons who impersonate formal positions and others, arrest them, provide safe environment for journalism in the country, stop harassing media teams and allow them to practice their profession without setting conditions and impediments and not to tolerate the attacks that occur before the sight of the security elements who do not react to prevent them.

 

 

 

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