The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory documented several violations and attacks against journalists and media organizations in different regions of Iraq and Kurdistan from September 1 to September 30.
The violations varied in nature to include: arrests, assassination attempts, beatings, and targeting with live bullets, in addition to the arbitrary prohibition of practicing journalistic work and confiscating recording equipment.
On (September 4, 2022), the authorities in the city of Halabja in the Kurdistan region carried out attacks and legal violations against many journalists and media workers after they covered demonstrations organized by unemployed graduates.
The security forces assaulted a group of journalists during their duty, seized all filming and broadcasting equipment, and prevented media outlets such as NRT, Speda TV, BasNews, GaliKurdistan and Rudaw from covering the protests," according to a group of journalists from these institutions.
On (September 5, 2022), the security authorities in Erbil arrested NRT reporter Karim Kefi in Soran district for 14 hours during a press coverage about the missile shelling on the outskirts of Khalifan district in Erbil.
On the same date, Al-Ahed TV correspondent in Babylon said that he was subjected to a failed assassination attempt in the center of the city of Hilla. He added, "this assassination attempt came about a week after a campaign of incitement against me on social media, with accusations that I was close to the Secretary-General of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, Qais al-Khazali."
In the capital, Baghdad, the staff of the "Huna Baghdad" channel was attacked on (September 11, 2022) and prevented from filming while covering a demonstration of free lecturers.
Rawnaq Al-Janabi reported that "one of the riot police was upset by our depiction of a simple clash between the protesters and the security forces. He closed the camera lens that was filming me while I was talking about the demands of the demonstration, and he assaulted the cameraman accompanying me, my colleague (Mustafa Manaf) and tried to break the camera, forcing a group of fellow journalists to intervene to stop the attack".
On the other hand, the two journalists (Ali Al-Obaidi and Ali Al-Sharifi - who works for Al-Mustakel newspaper) in Najaf were attacked by security forces while covering the Arbaeen pilgrimage on (September 11, 2022).
Al-Sharifi stated that during press coverage to assess the situation of Arbaeen visitors coming or going from Najaf and Karbala. SWAT forces attacked my friend Ali Al-Obeidi and me; my mobile device was taken. Also, we were taken to the patrol wheels in a brutal, cheap, and vulgar way by SWAT members as if we were criminals and terrorists."
Days after this incident, the correspondents of Al-Rabaa and Al-Baghdadiya channels in Babil Governorate (Zayd Al-Shehib and Zain Al-Shibli) were shot by unidentified gunmen on (September 14, 2022).
In an interview with JFO, Zaid Al-Shehib said: "we were subjected to shooting late by unidentified gunmen in one of the areas south of Babil, me and the correspondent of Al-Baghdadiya channel, Zain Al-Shibli."
JFO strongly condemns all assaults and violations against media organizations and journalists throughout Iraq, particularly in the Kurdistan region. These actions clearly violate all international conventions, agreements, and provisions of the Iraqi constitution that protect journalists and guarantee their right to freely and safely carry out their professional duties.
Additionally, JFO reports a marked increase in the number of violations against journalists over the past three months, including direct targeting, blocking coverage, arrests, and confiscating recording equipment.
Preventing professional journalists and specialized media organizations from covering an event will never contribute to obscuring what is happening. Instead, it will contribute to allowing the public and bystanders to take over the task of reporting events without adopting journalistic standards, which may contribute to misinformation and backfire against the authorities that prevented journalists from coverage.