In the first two thirds of this year, the Iraqi media witnessed a new wave of forced demobilization, which has affected hundreds of people in several governorates, particularly in Baghdad and Kurdistan.
Despite the importance of media work in Iraq, and the multiplicity of its windows between the audiovisual and written media, and the attraction of this sector of large numbers of workers in several jobs under this umbrella, repeated job shocks due to the moods and speculation of the owners of media organizations, From political parties, dealers, or businessmen remain a constant threat.
As in the past few years, two satellite channels have been closed, as a result of poor financial funding, in the first two thirds of 2018.
Arabic NRT channel released 60 workers in Kurdistan and the provinces suddenly, after a financial crisis that lasted more than six months.
A number of colleagues working in the firm confirmed that they had not received their dues since four months, prior to the announcement of the closure, in May.
The Baghdad satellite channel has demobilized most of its employees, and part of them have been transferred to Samarra satellite, due to the financial crisis of the channel.
A number of media workers reported that settlements between workers and the institution had been carried out in such a way as to move those who wished to continue working to Samarra channel and to mediate the remaining of them into other channels, but some had not found work yet. Colleagues indicate that the total number of workers in the channel is approximately 55.
Asia news channel has demobilized more than 120 workers for financial reasons, forcing its owner to sell part of its shares to companies and individuals, and after the inauguration of the new administration took place , more than 20 other workers were laid off.
Al-Rashid channel has demobilized 41 workers in two batches after a new financial crisis.
The Sumeria news agency has released more than 20 workers after it was unable to pay their salaries due to the financial crisis that the agency has been facing for more than three years, as some of its employees have not received their dues for four months.
Alghad Press, released all of its correspondents and half of its editors who summed up to more than 30. They were suddenly demobilized as a result of the financial crisis that the agency faced last month.
It is clear from the successive closures of the satellite channels and media institutions associated with the owner and the political financier, the apparent impact on the professional media career of its employees in Iraq, as the lack of job security and the disruption of the benefits to the workers by creating an insecure environment is sometimes intentional A method used by some organizations by imposing additional demands and exerting pressure on employees to perform more work, coupled with the burden of sudden interruption of funding for some institutions, forcing most workers to move from one institution to another, even at a lower level than the press worker’s qualification.
The Association for the Defence of press freedom in Iraq attributes the lack of job security for journalists and media workers, to the absence of laws protecting journalists, the continuation of the loose political money that leads to the opening of media outlets, and the temptation of journalists with money, and finally their closure after the realization of the goals, without being held accountable scrutinized.
The association considers the ongoing dismissals, a dire violation of Iraqi laws, and an insult to the press family, since it convinces many journalists to leave their previous works and satisfactory wages, and stop working at the station, agency or newspaper without prior notice.
The legislature and successive Iraqi governments are also responsible for the forcible dismissal of media workers, as a result of their insistence on activating the laws inherited from the past dictatorship, that were proven inconsistent with the Constitution and the democratic system, and not enacting laws that protect the rights of Journalists and media workers, as well as blocking advertisements from independent journals, in an attempt to prevent journalists from being polarized and to force them to work with partisan or politically-based institutions.
The association calls on all those working in the media from the demobilized to file lawsuits to redress their usurped rights whereas the association declares the willingness of its legal team to prosecute them, before the competent courts, and support the victims of these chaotic actions not to tolerate the insults they have suffered due to their commitment.
The association also condemns the disregard of media owners and financiers for the lives of workers, and the lack of compliance with Iraqi laws on employment, which oblige them to grant workers their rights before they are demobilized, or not to refrain from paying salaries for several months, or to reduce it to half at its best.