On Monday (September 11, 2022), two journalists in Najaf governorate reported that they were attacked by security forces while covering Arbaeen pilgrimage in Karbala.
In a Facebook post that the JFO reviewed, the journalist Ali Al-Sharifi, who works for the Al-Mustakal newspaper, stated that "on September 11, 2022, I covered live via Facebook to assess the situation of Arbaeen pilgrims coming from and leaving Karbala and Najaf, as well as traffic jams in the streets, and to discuss the security plan in an interactive broadcast with citizens."
"During the coverage, my friend Ali Al-Obeidi and I were attacked by the SWAT forces as the mobile device was withdrawn," Al-Sharifi continued. "This was under the supervision of an officer with the rank of colonel, and we were treated brutally and in a cheap and distasteful manner by the members of the security force as if we were criminals and terrorists."
"I tried to explain to the officer that I work in the press and that I am a member of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate, but he refused to listen and continuously ordered to arrest us and verbally and physically assault us," Al-Sharifi added. This entire event was captured during the live broadcast on my Facebook page.
Al-Sharifi addressed the police command and Najaf Governor Majid Al-Waeli, the province's highest local authority, saying "what is the legal and moral justification for what happened to us, and by what right does a journalist get assaulted and arrested while carrying out his duty professionally and respectfully?"
JFO calls on the security authorities in Najaf to provide a clear explanation about what Ali Al-Obeidi and Ali Al-Sharifi were subjected to.
JFO also warns of the violent practices used by some members of the security forces to deal with journalists, highlighting the significance of upholding the laws that ensure press freedom and providing the appropriate protection for journalists.