4 اكتوبر 2016
General Company for Ports in Iraq prohibited several media teams from covering the visit of Iraqi MPs to Um Qaser Port to investigate the grounds of the disputed rice contract that was claimed not to be suitable for human consumption.
Sumaria News correspondent in Basrah said that, the cadre headed since early morning to the port to cover the visit, but they were stopped by the port’s checkpoint, under the excuse of lacking permits.
He added that after communicating with the port’s media headquarters, they said that this checkpoint was beyond their authority. So they were allowed to pass after 3 hours. Another checkpoint prohibited total entry to Um Qaser area.
The checkpoint officer confirmed that orders were directed not to allow any press into the area and in spite of the facilitation patrol that was sent by Basrah operations, the team was delayed for another hour until they were allowed to pass without their SNG vehicle.
Upon reaching dock 12 of the port we were cut off completely from entering the site of both the rice cargo and MPs. According to orders issued firmly by port regulators that no press is allowed.
At the time when Press Freedom Advocacy Association condemns this act, it stresses that the ports administration has committed a dire constitutional violation that ensured freedom of expression especially that it also violates the principle of transparency adopted by the Iraqi ports.
The Association considers this action a point of questioning and inquiring the size of involvement of the port’s administration in this cargo. And it calls the Minister of Transportation to open a full investigation in the incident, and hold all those involved accountable, including those who issued the orders of banning press.