The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory "JFO" condemns the attack on the headquarters of the "Al-Rabea" TV channel in Baghdad and the intimidation that journalists and the institution's staff were subjected to, against the background of a dispute over the channel's coverage of political issues that lie at the heart of the work of journalism.
The headquarters of the channel were attacked, stormed, and its contents destroyed despite the presence of the security officers tasked with protecting the region, according to a series of videos obtained by JFO.
JFO urges the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to implement his declaration regarding holding the offenders accountable for this act, especially when the frequency and escalation of these instances were attributable to the influential parties' confidence that their operatives will evade legal responsibility.
As in similar incidents, the authorities have documented the faces of many of the attackers, yet legal leniency towards these attacks has become the defining characteristic of the policies of successive Iraqi governments.
Such days in 2019 saw a string of attacks on media outlets by armed forces affiliated with other political parties as retaliation for their coverage of events, and the previous period saw a high volume of attacks by groups and armed men affiliated with political parties against media outlets or journalists.
Iraq's reputation takes a beating as the country falls to the bottom of most global lists concerned with freedoms, rights, media, and transparency as a result of the routine besieging of media centers, storming of them, destruction of equipment, and threats to media employees.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) calls on the authorities and security forces to not only prosecute the individuals responsible for these attacks but also to put an end to this phenomenon by holding accountable the organizations that organize, facilitate, and direct these coordinated operations.
The various political parties must exclude journalists and the media from their disputes and refrain from using attacks on journalists and their offices to settle scores.