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Media and Publication Courts add extra burdens on Iraqi Press                                          1000+ Iraqi journalists threatened with unemployment                                          IRAQ/ Annual Report of Press Freedoms in 2013 307 violation cases, including 19 killings                                          Transparency Report and the Right to Get the Information for the ministries and independent institutions for the first half of 2012                                          IJRDA demands PM Maliki to release Iraqi Journalist                                           The Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association Annual report                                          The Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association Annual report Coordinating Bureau of the media Baghdad 2009                                           IJRDA required to disclose the fact about the disappearance of a journalist in the province of Arbil                                          

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The Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association Annual report Coordinating Bureau of the media Baghdad 2009

13/03/2010 18:45:55

 

Iraq: (127) case of violation of Iraqi journalists in 2009 were distributed between assassinations, arrests and prevention

 

           The 2009 events which characterized of violations and arrests against  Iraqi Journalists and their rights of press freedoms associated with their right to access information, refer that press work in Iraq is still associated with danger that exceeds all the other media and journalists experiences in other countries live the same political and security circumstances.

          Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association followed these events with great concern and attention. It also monitored, during the same year, a large number of cases of abuse and excess, which laid out a series of violations of press freedoms and the right of journalists to practice their profession of covering political and social activities and events. These violations represent a strange and unfortunate intersection with what the Iraqi Constitution emphasized on in article (Thirty-eighth) which guarantees press freedoms and the right to access information. In addition, these violations reflect a dramatic contrast with the confirmation of government officials and members of the House of Representatives on respecting press freedom and the right of journalists to work freely and independently.

         At the same time, Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association continued on monitoring the reactions and official procedures of the governmental institutions and administrations to find that these administrations did not succeed in providing legal and legislative guarantees or even security shelters for journalists. As a result, there was no safe or healthy environment for press job, as well as, no freedom or independency. In addition, the governmental administrations and parliament proved no real will or intention to attain any security guarantees for press or journalists. Consequently, press job accompanied with fear and the journalists kept working in bad and dangerous circumstances which lack the legal legislations and the less right criteria.  

 

 

Press freedoms in Iraq confront a real crisis

 

         It is an accurate assessment to say that the number of violations in 2009 had somewhat decreased compared to the violations and the events of previous years and reduced in rate during the same period as the assassinations, kidnappings and physical targeting did not exceed (7) cases as following:

 

7 cases murder

Failure of 2 assassination attempts

 

        The incidents of arrest and detention for long periods also a declined, and so on for the other forms of abuse that have always characterized press job in Iraq. At the same time, regarding press freedoms, 2009 marked by the emergence of more than a phenomenon (that could be described as serious, though limited) which formed another burden on the shoulders of journalists, press organizations and media in Iraq, as represented in the phenomenon of public threat to journalists by known political and parliamentary such as suffered by the journalist Ahmad Abdul-Hussein of Al-Sabah newspaper and the activist Hadi Jallow Meri of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, and the threat issued by the House of Representatives to fill a lawsuit against Al-Mada newspaper because of a newspaper article.

 

Baghdad, the biggest area for violations followed by Kurdistan, then Anbar

         Iraqi scene witnessed in 2009, (92) direct and indirect violations for the press freedoms, including (125) journalists and media, distributed on incidents of assassination, physical assault, litigation, arrest and temporary detention and forced prevention to cover events and activities at gunpoint, as well as some government action to restrict some of the pathways and forms of journalism and media such as trying to impose censorship on websites, newspapers and publications.

          Baghdad alone witnessed more than 40% violations in various forms, which confirms that Baghdad still represents the most dangerous place, and that journalists and news organizations are most vulnerable at the provincial level, while Kurdistan came at the second rank in terms of the number and types of violations as witnessed 25 per %, then came later the provinces of Anbar, Nineveh, Babylon, Najaf, Basra, Karbala, Salahd din, Dhi Qar, Diyala and Wasit, respectively, in addition to (3) violations against Iraqi journalists abroad: (1) one in Jordan and (2) in Syria.

 

Arbitrary arrest and detention

 

        The year 2009, witnessed (29) cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, Baghdad had the largest share, followed by the provinces of Kurdistan region, as follows:

1- Baghdad (11) cases.

2- Kurdistan (8) cases.

3 -Salahddin (3) cases.

4- Babylon (2) cases.

5-Dhi Qar (1) cases.

6- Anbar (1) cases.

7 -Syria (2) cases.

8- Jordan (1) case.s

  

          The incidents differentiated between the arrest and detention for long periods of time ranging from one week to several months or inquiries for a few days or several hours.

 

Physical abuse and forced prevention of covering certain events

 

         The year 2009 witnessed (27) cases of physical violence and a forced prevention of media coverage including more than (78 journalists), in addition to an unspecified number were prevented by force and threat of coverage in the province of Karbala and Baghdad during the opening of the Iraq Museum by the protection of the Prime Minister. Baghdad was ranked first in the number of violations, followed by the Kurdistan region in second place, as following the number of violations in the provinces:

 

1 -Baghdad (11) violations.

2- Kurdistan (9) violations.

3- Karbala (2) violations.

4- Anbar (1) violations.

5- Babylon (1) violations.

6- Diyala (1) violations.

7 -Dhi Qar (1) violations.

8- Basra (1) violations.

 

Lawsuits filed against journalists

 

     2009  witnessed the lifting of (29) lawsuit of publishing cases and the practice of journalism by individuals and governmental institutions against a number of journalists and press institutions. The share of Kurdistan Region got (17) cases ahead of Baghdad that has witnessed (10) cases, in addition to other two cases in the provinces of Anbar and Wasit. In line with the seriousness and the importance of this challenge faces journalism and press freedom in Iraq, Iraqi journalists Rights Defending Association continued Advocacy program with a voluntary effort, which includes the attorney of a number of lawyers to stand by journalists and news organizations on the issues and the charges leveled by the personalities and stakeholders of cases.  

 

Murders

 

       The year, 2009, witnessed (7) cases of murder, (3) of them in Baghdad. In addition to (1) in each of Nineveh, Kirkuk and the failure of two attempts in Baghdad. Baghdad also has witnessed two assassination attempts led to two journalists were injured. The most serious one was the attempted assassination of Imad Abbadi, so far lying in a hospital in Germany for treatment. While journalist Saad Ali Hashim, survived from an assassination attempt in eastern of Baghdad.

 

Blocking websites

 

        The Iraqi government signals about its intention to provide controls and mechanisms to deal with regulated Web sites in 2009 were a form of violation of press freedoms and the freedoms of opinion, as, Iraqi journalists Rights Defending Association registered its opposition to the Iraqi government"s decision to censor and block websites to concise with the government policy which constitutes a violation of the Constitution and public freedoms and principles of democracy.

 

Censorship of publications

 

             Accordingly with the Web sites decision, the resolution issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Culture on imposing censorship formed a dangerous precedent in Iraq, especially with the existence of Iraqi constitution, which guarantees press freedom and freedom to publish without restriction and without any official permission as the Iraqi constitution has given the guarantee press freedom and freedom of publication.

 

The right of access to information

 

           Some ministries and official institutions continued to pursue paths entirely at odds with press freedom and freedom of opinion which is highlighted by the new Constitution as the abstain from holding meetings with journalists, as well as some of the ministries were issuing ministerial orders to prevent officials from speaking to the media.

 

The official response to address violations

 

         2009 did not record any positive indication regarding the response of those responsible on dealing with violations of press freedoms, with the exception of Dhi Qar province through a rapid response of the governor and the Police Chief to take quick and deterrent steps against police officers who committed the attack on Beladi channel staff in the province. In addition to response to the Prime Minister on the lawsuit set up by the Council of Ministers against Kitabat website as he initiatived to withdraw the suit, which represents a positive situation to some extent with the subject of press freedoms.

 

 

Ibrahim Al-Saraji

Head of IJRDA

e-mail: al_srage2@yahoo.com

           alijrda@gmail.com

www.ijrda.org

 

Mob: 07706246249

         07901739832

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