The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today joint its member, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate (IJS), in condemning an incident in which bodyguards of the Iraq National Security Advisor, Faleh Al Fayad, beat up journalists at a press conference held in Baghdad last Wednesday 18 February.
According to reports, several journalists were roughed up by the bodyguards Faleh Al Fayad at the Strategic Studies Centre in Mesopotamia when the reporters demanded more time to film the event. Some of them had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.
“The Iraqi Journalists Syndicate strongly condemns such humiliating acts and demands the authorities to arrest the perpetrators and to open an investigation,” said the President of the IJS and IFJ member of the executive committee, Moaid al-Lami. “What happened last week against journalists is illegal and illogical. We will not accept any aggression against any journalists. These kinds of assaults will not remain without punishment,” he added.
The Iraqi Ministry of Interior has also condemned the actions of the protection officers, saying that they “ harm the image of security and military forces,” the al- Arabiya TV reported, quoting the statement from the ministry.
The IFJ supports its affiliate’s call for accountability and respect for journalists’ rights in Iraq.
“The IFJ backs its member in Iraq and stands up for the respect of press freedoms, including freedom of expression and access to the information. These are guarantees needed to facilitate the role of journalists as the watchdog for democratic rule in the interest of the citizens”, said the President of the IFJ, Jim Boumelha. “We urge the national authorities to enforce media rights and freedom by preventing and punishing all acts of violence against journalists.”
Iraq remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world. Since the start of 2015, photographer Adnan Abdul Razzaq was allegedly murdered by the Islamic State (IS) in Mosul and reporter Ali Ansari was fatally hit while covering the battles between the Iraqi army and the IS in Mykdadyah, north of Baghdad. Last year 8 journalists also lost their lives in professional missions.
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The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries