New record of violations against journalists in Iraqi Kurdistan Region

By Viktor Forgacss for

By KirkukNow

Arbitrary detention of journalists and confiscation of journalistic equipment have spiked to more than double in the past year, according to the Metro Center's annual report.

The Metro Center for the Protection of Journalists' Rights released its annual report on violations against journalists in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq KRI on Monday, January 16, 2023.

In 2022, the local media watchdog has registered 431 violations against 301 journalists and media institutions.

Among the violations were 195 obstructions of coverage, 68 cases of confiscation and breaking of journalistic equipment, and 46 cases of physical assault, threats and verbal abuse.

According to the statistics, there were 64 cases of arrest without a court order and only four cases of arrest per court order.

There were 46 cases of beatings and injuries, one case of channel closure, two cases of rocket attacks, three cases of raids on journalists' houses, six cases of cyber-attacks and 16 cases of forcing journalists to take oath at court, oath letter.

In 2021, there were 353 cases of violations against 260 journalists and media institutions, according to the Metro Center.

In 2021, there were 189 cases of obstruction and discrimination, 81 cases of beatings and insults, 25 cases of detention without a court order, 25 cases of confiscation of journalistic equipment, 13 cases of threats, seven cases of breaking journalistic equipment Four cases of journalism, two cases of raids and closures of channel headquarters and six cases of filling out promises to journalists were recorded.

The local and international organizations, human rights advocates members of the Iraqi and Kurdistan parliaments MPs expressed their grave concern that freedom of press and expression is increasingly under threat all over Iraq including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq KRI.

The Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq PFAA monitored 280 cases of violations against journalists from May 3, 2021 to May 3, 2022, which marks World Press Freedom Day. Baghdad and Erbil were ranked first with 56 violations, followed by Kirkuk province with 37 cases.


 Announcement of the Metro Center 2022 Report about Violations against Journalists in Sulaymaniyah on January 16, 2023

The Kurdistan Union of Journalists (KUJ) has reported 22 violations against 62 journalists and media outlets in the first half of last year.

According to the union, there were two cases of arrest in the first half of 2022, eight cases of obstruction and discrimination, three cases of confiscation and breaking of journalistic equipment, four cases of attacks and insults, one case of threats, two cases of dismissal There have been attacks on media channels.

In 2021, 79 cases of violations against 187 journalists and media outlets were registered in the KRI, including 17 cases of arrest, 31 obstruction of coverage, 22 cases of assault and insult, four cases of beatings and two cases of threats.

According to the previous statistics of the Union of Journalists, 138 violations were registered against 315 media outlets and journalists in 2020, while in the same year, according to the Metro Center, there were 385 violations against 291 journalists and media outlets.

In 2019, according to the Kurdistan Union of Journalists, there were 66 violations against 151 journalists and media outlets, but the Metro Center says 231 violations were recorded against 209 journalists and media outlets.

According to the latest report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the number of journalists jailed around the world set yet another record in 2022. The Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual prison census has found that 363 reporters were deprived of their freedom as of December 1, 2022 – “a new global high that overtakes last year’s record by 20% and marks another grim milestone in a deteriorating media landscape.”

According to the CPJ 2022 census, three journalists have been arrested and imprisoned across Iraq, all in the KRI.

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