Members of Prime Minister Haider Alibadi’s security banned press from covering his Monday visit to Karbalaa province. The journalists underlined an attack and a journalists being dragged and prevented from entering Aliskan area, the site of visit, where the PM was scheduled to meet with chief of Sadri bloc Muqtada Alsader. Ali Alawsi, Rudaw Satellite cameraman was prevented by being yelled at and abused.
Media persons in the province expressed their unrest to Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq and said that it is unbelievable to exercise this (selectivity) on daily basis by Middle Euphrates Operations Command, since only selected media bodies are allowed to cover such events.
Abdulamir Alkinany , Biladi Channel correspondent in Karbalaa, expressed his resentment, saying that duality in dealing with satellite channels since only governmental bodies are invited to cover such events leaving the rest of the media out of the circle of function; a situation that clearly violates the constitution that secured the coverage for all media bodies in the country.
A number of journalists said “ in spite of the clear directive that was released by PM office to allow all media bodies to cover the event, head of the Media of the conference closed his cell phone leaving all media personnel out in the street for more than an hour and a half”. This act alone is considered a violation by itself. Especially that the province has been witnessing lately and during the past month, a series of armed burglaries and other crimes against the press family and the latest was killing Hussein Mazin, whose case is followed personally by PM as stated during the visit.
At the time that Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq condemns the ban imposed against the press at Karbalaa conference, it highlights, that Alibadi security bans any coverage at any place they stand, and that this is the fifth time they direct such insult to press without being held held accountable by PM, who promised to investigate several past incidents. Banning coverage, being intended or not, is a crime and a clear violation to the Iraqi constitution that secured freedom of expression.