The Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, in partnership with the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq, organized the first consultative Forum to improve the legal environment for journalistic work in Iraq / publishing crime materials as a model.
The forum concluded, among other important recommendations, the work of providing protection and guarantees for the delineation of the legal environment for journalistic work, and cooperation between the three authorities in order to create a realistic legal environment, the holding of activities and meetings and the organization of hearings with the participation of journalists in this context, To request the existence of competent courts for the examination of information and publicity claims for their expertise and competence, and to request the Government to provide all necessary tools to facilitate the work of the journalist in performing their duty.
The consultative forum was attended by a gathering of members of the House of Representatives, a gathering of diplomatic missions and bodies, international organizations concerned with freedom of expression and the press, local organizations and a gathering of lawyers, jurists and journalists.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, Mr. Arshad Salhi, initiated the Forum by addressing the Committee’s adoption of a roadmap to provide a safe legal environment for the freedom of journalistic work guaranteed under article 38 of the Constitution, praising the efforts of the parliamentary committees involved in the amendment and drafting of laws with Direct interference with the press and media sector.
For her part, MP Dr. Wahda Al-Jumaili highlighted the existing endeavors in the House of Representatives to legislate sensitive and important laws concerning freedom of publication and the press.
The Association President Mustafa Nasser also stressed the need to evaluate the fourth authority as a cornerstone of the democratic system, commending the efforts of the Presidency of Parliament and the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, in their attempt to fill the legal vacuums of the press and media sector in Iraq.
The director of the Association, Ghaith Saadoun, reviewed the most prominent violations against journalists for the period 2015 – 2018.
The legal expert Zuhair Dhia al-Din highlighted the reasons for the amendment of the articles in the Iraqi Penal Code, highlighting its contradictions with the country’s permanent constitution.
The lawyer for publishing crimes, Marwa Abdelreda, reviewed the pros and cons of the media and publishing court, and the Iraqi courts deal with publishing cases as crimes similar to all other crimes.
The Forum concluded the following recommendations:
- To prepare a plan of action that would support and assist the fourth authority as a cornerstone of good governance and the rule of law.
- To highlight the violations that have affected Iraqi journalists and propose solutions for eliminating them.
- Cooperation between the three authorities to create a realistic legal environment that supports journalistic work in Iraq.
- To affirm neutrality, honesty and credibility of the journalism and its role in promoting the concept of a legal state.
- The Government should provide all necessary tools to facilitate the work of the journalist in order to perform their duties in full potential.
- Work to provide all that would offer protection and guarantees for the delineation of the legal environment for journalistic work in Iraq.
- To continue to hold activities, meetings and hearings so as to contribute to the achievement of the objectives presented in this forum.
- To draw on international expertise and experience, particularly from relevant organizations, to strengthen the role of legislation relating to journalistic work in Iraq.
- Providing technical support to the parliamentary committee and other relevant committees to improve the legal environment for journalistic work in Iraq.
- To demand the existence of specialized courts for the examination of information and publicity claims due to their expertise and competence.
- Involving journalists in the regulation of bills such as the Law on cybercrime, freedom of expression of opinion and all issues related to freedom of the press, information and publishing.
Note* Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq will send a letter to HOR to name the sides responsible for implementing each of the aforementioned recommendations.