IFJ backs Iraqi affiliate’s legal action against closure of media houses in the Kurdistan region

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today backed its Iraqi Kurdistan affiliate, the Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate (KJS), and its legal action against the security forces in Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRG), following the shutting down of two TV stations last October without a court order. The KJS said it took legal action against the closure of two TV stations, NRT in Erbil city and KNN in Dohouk last 10 October. The union accused the security forces of failing to “perform their legal obligation under Journalism Law No 35 applied in KRG”, leaving no other option other than asking to courts to intervene. In addition to the measure to close stations, several media offices have been attacked in the region and journalists have been accused of supporting rival political parties amid political tension between the ruling party of President Masoud Barzani and the other parties. “This action is a violation of press freedom and public liberties,” said the KJS, while calling on the Attorney General to enforce the law and order the reopening of the closed media houses. The IFJ supported the union, asking the authorities to respect the independence of the press in the region. “We stand by our affiliate in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and urge the authorities to respect the law and freedom of the press and stop interfering with journalists' work of reporting the truth,” said the IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. The closure came after several political parties refused the request from the President’s party to extend his mandate for additional two years after his second and last term ended last August.

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