The Prime Minister’s Protocol personnel imposed unexpected measures on satellite channels during the pope’s visit to Najaf, and prevented them from covering the visit.
The coordinator of the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Najaf complained about the ill-treatment he and fellow journalists suffered while heading towards the center of Najaf to cover the ceremony, adding that he and colleagues from other channels had obtained licenses issued by the Presidency allowing them to cover, but officials from the Protocol unit of the Prime Minister prevented journalists from filming and performing their duties.
Al-Abboudi said one of the officials in charge threatened journalists that they would destroy their mobile phones and the channel’s camera in case of filming or covering, adding that they closed the door of the reception hall for journalists and prevented them from going out, while excluding the Iraqia channel from these measures.
He said the measures prevented journalists from even entering Najaf from Friday evening.
The Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq condemns the ban on journalists from carrying out their duties, and considers it a violation of the freedom of journalistic work in the country, and an unjustified abuse by the relevant government authorities, particularly the Protocol Dep. of the Prime Minister‘s Office.
The Prime Minister is held accountable for the irresponsible acts of his staff, actions that boldly contrast the stated schedule, which included the movement and presence of journalists as the Vatican pope entered the house of the higher scholar SayyedSistani.
The association also calls on the government agencies to stop preventing the press and the media from carrying out their work, to move and keep up with the events taking place on ground, to observe the principles of the constitution that guaranteed the freedom of journalistic work unconditionally, and to hold those abusing media people accountable.