Asayish KRG security forces expelled forty journalists from its HOR after more than three hours of being held by anonymous militants who had surged the place; at least three of the journalists sustained different bruises and wounds.
Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Erbil representative said that cadres of KNN, NRT, Anatolia and most media bodies that refused the referendum were exposed to intense beating by individuals claiming that they were civil protestors. The source clarified that after the press gathered at about 1:00 pm inside the parliament to cover a series of important press conferences for key figures in Islamic Union party and Democratic party and an ex MP in Taghyir bloc and an official in ( No to referendum) bloc. After a couple of hours a protest was held in front of the parliament and suddenly they surged the place and started to beat and threaten to kill the journalists. Being terrified, Media people sought refuge in one of the rooms and locked themselves inside. The demonstrators continued to shot fire and threaten to kill the journalists.
The speaker added that the demonstrators were carrying fire weapons, sharp instruments and rods; they dragged the cadres of channels NRT, KNN, Anatolia Kurdistan 24, beating up the correspondents, Rebwar Kakaii, Salih Herky, and Hushmand Sadiq and cameraman Ihsan Mohammed. They destroyed the cameras and hurt other journalists whom they believed to be against the referendum.
The association’s representative said that Asayish security forces succeeded after more than three hours to evacuate the journalists by two military vehicles.
Kurdish NRT published a short film that exposed the severity of its correspondent’s injuries during the surge of the demonstrators into the parliament. Since the connection was cut with the correspondent after the camera was destroyed and any connection with him was lost completely. The correspondent reported the disappearance of the journalists and that no contact can be reached, accordingly, a statement was released by the channel to urgently interfere for finding the missing journalists.
Roj News correspondent said that security elements dressed as civilians attacked the journalists by clubs as they were chanting in the name of Barazani. He clarified that they destroyed the microphone of the agency and then they put the agency’s logo on one of the clubs as an insult.
At the time that Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq expresses its anger for the rising attacks against the press family in KRG, it demands that both the Federal and Regional governments immediately stop these attacks since all our previous calls landed on deaf ears. It is also a fact that all international organizations of the free world did not move a straw in the direction of advocating the press community in Iraq; no statement whatsoever was released to expose their attitude concerning the journalists’ situation in KRG.
The association considers that KRG’s targeting of the press family is a politicized attitude in order to carry out certain agendas amidst the political and military struggles in the area.
The association calls the UN to interfere in order to protect the journalists who need to cover the ongoing events in the region and present the happenings to the world especially that the regional government limited the activity of press and prohibited several channels and workers like NRT, KNN and others from carrying out their duties in coverage and so on. It is worth mentioning that there is an ongoing process of defaming correspondents and urging security forces and party allies to attack them especially in the last three days.