Iraq: 7 journalists attacked by security forces in Kurdistan

Seven journalists and media staff working for local television NRT were attacked and detained for several hours on Saturday, January 26, while covering protests against a Turkish military base in the town of Shaladze, located in Iraq's Kurdish region. Their equipment was confiscated and the NRT office in Duhok city, the center of the region was shut down.

NRT Footage - Twitter

The IFJ joins the Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate (KJS) in condemning the attack and in demanding the authorities respect freedom of information in the region.

According to the KJS, the events took place during the protests against Turkish shelling that resulted in 5 casualties and many injured. NRT reported that protesters assaulted the Turkish base “setting fire to watchtowers and standing on tanks” and that at least one person died.

 

The KJS said in a statement: “We consider this attack as a violation of the Journalism Regulation Law 35 (2007) in Kurdistan region of Iraq. We call on the responsible security forces to treat journalists within the scope of the law and to not mix journalistic work with politics. We urge them to reopen NRT offices in the governorate and to return journalists’ confiscated equipment as soon as possible”.

NRT has been a frequent target of the Kurdistan Regional Government and the security forces under its control because of its critical coverage over the last few years. Its crews and offices have been targeted frequently.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “Authorities must protect and ensure freedom of information regardless of the context. The arbitrary detention of journalists for doing their job and the shutdown of media offices is an unacceptable attempt to silence the press in the region. We call on all authorities to respect media freedom and to not make journalists hostages of their conflict”.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

Follow the IFJ on Twitter and Facebook

Subscribe to IFJ News