Speda TV crew detained during coverage of inauguration of religious center in Zakho

5/2/2022

An Asayish force detained a reporter and cameraman for Speda TV while performing their duties in Zakho, today, Saturday. The force then, released them on bail moments before writing this statement.

The director of Speda channel, Abdul Kareem Ahmed, told the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq (PFAA) that their reporter, Barzan Hassan, and the cameraman, Musheer Ahmed, were taken by the Asayish from the Nowruz district in Zakho, this afternoon, and they were released after more than five hours of detention. He indicated that the arrest of the crew came after they were covering the inauguration of a religious center for teaching the Qur’an in the district. It is the center of a religious figure called (Mullah Bukhari Sirkotki), who is Imam of a mosque in Zakho. He was released by the Asayish after being detained for a month for unknown reasons.

Therefore, the PFAA in Iraq condemns the detention of the journalists, considering this as a flagrant violation of the freedom of presswork in the region.

Furthermore, the association calls on the security authorities in Zakho district to release both the reporter and the cameraman immediately, and to stop arresting and detaining journalists with the aim of discouraging them from performing their journalistic duties. It also calls on the security forces to respect the principles of the constitution that guarantees freedom of journalistic work. The association considers their arrest as a flagrant constitutional violation that it recorded against the security forces in Zakho.

At the same time, the PFAA calls on the federal government to protect journalists from the oppression of the ruling authority in the region, whose prisons are full of detainees  for years just because they express their opinions in public.

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