The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory "JFO" documented the authorities' violations and law breaches against several journalists in Halabja, a city in the Kurdistan region, following their coverage of unemployed graduates' demonstrations last Sunday (4 September 2022). Protests broke out in reaction to allegations that the director of Halabja Directorate of Health employed 130 of his family and friends.
Journalists covering the protest told JFO that "security forces in Halabja city assaulted a group of journalists while carrying out their duties, and forcibly removed all filming and broadcasting equipment, and prevented media outlets such as NRT, Speda TV, BasNews, GaliKurdistan, and Rudaw from covering the demonstrations."
According to a journalist from NRT TV channel, "NRT reporter Lia Hama Karim and his team in Halabja were assaulted and forced to stop recording by Halabja security forces while covering demonstrations in front of a government building in the city."
In addition, Video clips received by JFO documented the moments of the assault and the arbitrary ban that was practiced against the cadres of some channels by the security forces in Halabja.
JFO condemns the attacks on journalists covering the demonstrations in Iraq, especially in Kurdistan, and urges security forces to play their role in protecting journalists rather than attacking and preventing them from carrying out their journalistic duties.
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.