Shafaaq news – ERBIL-Hewlêr – 29.7.2013 – : Dozens of civil society activists protested on Sunday, in front of Erbil provincial council to demand to expand the freedoms of opinion and to prevent attacks against journalists as they have submitted a note to the Presidency of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), that include their demands through governor of Erbil.
The demonstrators carried pictures of victims from journalists and wrote banners saying: if violations continued, we will be obliged to break our cameras. “This is a peaceful demonstration in order to emphasize that the violations and attacks against journalists exist, as we call the President of KRG to prevent these violations, ”The coordinator of Metro Centre for defending Press freedoms, Rahman Gharib said. For his part, Governor of Erbil, Nawzad Hadi pledged work to address every attack on journalists in the region and promised to deliver the note to the President of KRG, Nechirvan Barzani.
Hadi said during a meeting with the protesters in the provincial building that any attack against journalists should be treated under the law like any citizen because everyone is equal before the law.Human Rights Watch 2013 report says Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) should stop arbitrarily detaining journalists,activists, and political opposition figures, and end its prosecution of journalists for insulting or defaming public figures. The Asayish – the Kurdistan Security Agency – and police arrested without warrants journalists and others who published articles criticizing public officials, and detained them without charge or trial for periods ranging from several weeks to a year.Kurdistan passed a new press law in 2008. This law prohibits prosecution based on an opinion piece. The law was signed by the same Barzani who now threatens the independent media with fine after fine. In order to continue imposing restrictions on independent media he is relying on the use of obsolete laws from the days of Saddam Hussein.