Journalistic Freedoms Observatory shows deep concern for some judicial proceedings against journalists and media organizations without adequate verification of the credibility of published reports that reveal issues of administrative and financial corruption in Iraq, where journalists are often prosecuted in spite of the high level of credibility in their publications.
In this context, one journalist is exposed to legal inquiry after reporting about some administrative and financial corruption cases concerns the institution of political prisoners, based on evidences and official documents issued by government institutions.
The journalist Abdul Halem Al-Rikabi told the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory that he had to go to court last week as a result of publishing reports based on official letters from the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers which reveal issues of administrative and financial corruption in the institution of political prisoners, headed by Jasim Muhammed Ja’afar, vice president of the institution, who filed a lawsuit against me on the eighth of August of last year.
-“ Despite the authenticity of the documents I submitted to the investigating judge but the court did not clear me and only release me on bail which means that I will go back soon to trial again."
Al-Rikabi’s documents published in “Al-Mashriq” newspaper revealed the conflict between 2 graduation certificates submitted by one of the officials in the institution of political prisoners as a graduate from college of education of Al-Qadiseya university but the but the documents included a difference in the university order number and date of graduation.
Fu’ad Ghazy, editor of “Al-Mashriq” newspaper which constantly publish issues related to administrative and financial corruption, says:” The publication of administrative and financial corruption in the institution of political prisoners is based on formal documents and evidences and Al-Rikabi did not come up with anything that is unofficial.”
“Al-Mashriq” newspaper had to face three lawsuits brought by the former trade minister Abdul Falah al-Sudani, who was excluded later because of administrative and financial corruption, as result of publication of press statements made by Iraqi parliament members last May, accusing the ministry of corruption, which was proved later by the Iraqi judiciary but the newspaper is still threatened with litigation.
Last year Iraq witnessed 23 lawsuits brought by local officials against independent journalists and media organizations for publishing topics that talks about issues of financial and administrative corruption, or uncovering some of these issues in addition to 35 lawsuits in Kurdistan region.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory calls the Supreme Judicial Council to the take necessary measures to examine issues of corruption, which is published in the media before questioning the journalists who published them, where it appears in many of them that the journalist who published it has provided official evidences and documents, the thing that raises the eyebrows to the point that these documents are evidences to condemn some corrupted parties, not the journalist who revealed it.