Security forces near the Green Zone launched a brutal attack on press crews as they covered protests at the government palace building on Monday afternoon.
Security forces have arrested Al-Jazeera and Al-Rasheed channels’ cadres, and beaten and insulted the staff of Al-Fallujah and Al-Arabiya Al-Hadath, which necessitated the transfer of Al-Fallujah cameraman to the hospital.
Walid Ibrahim, director of Al Jazeera’s office told the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq that their correspondent Samer Youssef and cameraman Mohammed Mulla were arrested inside the government palace by a security force to prevent them from filming, and released released them after more than an hour of detention.
On the other hand, the director of Al-Rasheed TV ,“Ali Baban“, reported to the association the arrest of the channel’s staff by security elements, namely the reporter “Ammar Ghassan” and the cameraman “Mohammed Al-Shammari“, indicating that they were released, after being severely beaten, and confiscating the channel’s equipment.
The association also learned from colleagues in the “Fallujah”channel, that their cameraman “Saif Ali” was severely beaten with a club and batons by security forces near the Green Zone while covering the protests, resulting in injuring his leg, after which he was taken to the hospital for treatment. The colleagues explained that other security elements assaulted the correspondent of the same channel, “Hassan Mohamed Amori” and confiscated his equipment to prevent him from covererage
A colleague at Al-Arabiya Al-Hadath TV also reported that their staff were beaten while covering the escalating events today inside the Green Zone by the security of the region, while refusing to name the journalists who were attacked.
UTV staff had been assaulted by a security officer near the government palace during his live broadcast, but had re-filmed after being protected by protesters.
While the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq expresses its deep concern about the brutal attacks on press crews today by the security forces, it considers this a violation of the freedom of journalistic and media work in the country, which is constitutionally guaranteed, and a clear government insistence on disrupting the work of the press and the media during the outbreak of crises.
The association holds the commander-in-chief of the armed forces the responsibility for the arrests and beatings of colleagues ; He, who earlier pledged to protect journalists, allowed the security forces acting under his command toassault press cadres, and prevent them from performing their duties.
The association also calls on the security services to stop attacking and arresting journalists.
The association stresses that the mission of the security forces is to provide protection to all protesters and journalists alike, and not to violate the principles of the constitution that guarantees the freedom of journalistic work in all its forms.