2021 is not much different from previous years in terms of witnessing high numbers of violations of press freedom in Iraq. Despite the promises made by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi regarding freedom of the press and media, the situation has not improved from the past two years.
During this year, PFAA has recorded (233) cases of attacks on journalists in most Iraqi cities, including cases of assassination, kidnapping, armed attacks on journalists and media institutions, threats of death and physical liquidation, injuries, lawsuits, arrest warrants, court verdicts, detention, beatings and prevention and obstruction of press coverage, as well as the closure of media outlets and laying off employees.
Most of the violations were recorded in November, which coincided with the students’ protests in the Kurdistan region, that witnessed (40) violation cases out of a total of (234) violations.
PFAA has also recorded one assassination attempt, one kidnapping case, (139) cases of beating, preventing and obstructing press coverage, (34) cases of arrest and detention, (15) cases of closing channels and arbitrary lay-offs, and (13) injuries of journalists while performing their press assignments.
The breakdown of violations according to the governorates has come the same as last year. Baghdad is ranked first with (66) cases of violation, the Kurdistan Region come next with (53) violation cases, and Kirkuk is third with (35) cases. There are governorates where no cases of violation were recoded and that was due to the displacement of journalists from those governorates because of threats and prosecutions leading to their departure from their governorates after the October 2019 demonstrations
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