MESOP NEWS “NO FREE PRESS IN IRAQI KURDISTAN?” – Metro center says violations against journalists ongoing in Iraqi Kurdistan – The Metro Center for Journalists’ Rights and Advocacy

15 Jan 201 – SULAIMANI, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— The Metro Center for Journalists’ Rights and Advocacy said journalists were not only killed on the frontlines against Islamic State (ISIS) in 2016, but were also killed and kidnapped in cities in the Kurdistan Region.According to a report by Metro, 175 violations were recorded against 148 journalists in the Kurdistan Region, including murder, injuring, illegal detention, and breaking and seizing of journalists’ equipment.

Metro added that 16 of the violations were conducted against NRT and its journalists. Due to political reasons, violations were also recorded against K24 and Rudaw in Sulaimani province and Kurdsat and Gali Kurdistan in Erbil and Duhok, while NRT was a victim in all three provinces.Two journalists were killed in the Kurdistan Region and two others were killed covering war in 2016, the organization added. Twenty four others were wounded and 15 others were illegally detained.

“Violations against journalists are still ongoing and the violations are over the rule of law. No one has been held responsible for [them],” Coordinator of Metro Center for Journalists’ Rights and Advocacy, Rahman Gharib, said during a press conference on Saturday.

Gharib added that two more journalists, Wedat Hussein and Shukri Zaynadin, were classified as journalists who were “assassinated” in the Kurdistan Region.The data and information indicate that there are still significant threats to the lives and work of journalists in the region, Metro’s coordinator added.“Journalists are in a poor condition due to the economic crisis, unpaid salaries and the pressures of the authorities on them,” he noted. “Data and statistics tell us free media has taken a step back this year.”

“Media is in the hands of the political parties and they use it to protect their agendas.”Authorities hide information from journalists instead of helping them, Metro said.During the press conference, Kurdistan Parliament Yousif Mohammed said the political system in the Kurdistan Region does not allow “an active parliament” so it will be hard to give opportunities to a free media. “There is a step to monopolize media and a huge budget is spent on individual media,” parliament speaker added.