Governmental Restrictions Choke Press Freedoms in Iraq



The series of constitutional violations against the freedom of expression and workers in the field of press and media in the country continues. Freedoms are witnessing a noticeable deterioration through what we recorded as the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq, where we monitored the period (3/5/2022 – 2/5/2023) as covered by this report, 345 cases of violation.

Iraqi journalists suffer from continuous harassment and the government’s failure to address the obstacles facing journalistic work, as well as its failure to take any measures that contribute even to a little extent in reducing these violations, which have become part of the lives of journalists, overlooking international treaties and covenants that oblige the country to preserve freedom of expression and freedom of the press, which is one of the aspects of freedom of expression.

During the review of his government program, the current Prime Minister indicated that freedom of the press should be given priority, and pledged to promote the reality of the press, which suffers from the loss of independent journalism, and obliterating the freedom of work of journalists as one of the explicit constitutional rights. On Ground though threats and intimidation received by the media operating in Iraq continue, in addition to the participation of government agencies in restricting the freedom of journalistic work.

During the period covered by this report, the Association (PFAA) classified (345) cases of violations against journalists, as follows:

(Arrests and detention, death threats and physical liquidation, armed attacks on journalists and media institutions, injuries, beating and obstructing coverage, filing lawsuits, restriction by official books).

The monitoring system of the PFAA revealed a frightening rise in cases of beating and preventing and obstructing coverage by security authorities, special protections and security companies, which has become recorded daily, and the governorate was not without the process of preventing coverage or beating assault, as the PFAA recorded (203) cases, offset by (66) cases of arrest and detention of journalists, (26) cases of government restriction of freedom of journalistic work, (21) cases of armed incursion that affected media institutions and journalists’ homes, while (14) lawsuits were recorded against journalists and media institutions, In addition to the injury of (11) journalists, and the threat of two others.

Statistics according to the governorates, show that no governorate is free from recording violations against journalists and media institutions, as Baghdad ranked first in the cities with the most violations by (83) cases, and Erbil second with (74) cases, followed by Kirkuk (30) cases, Sulaymaniyah (29), Basra (27), Dohuk (20), Mosul (18), Najaf (17), Karbala (17), Dhi Qar (8), Anbar (6), (4) cases in Babylon, Diyala and Maysan, each. Three cases recorded by Diwaniyah governorate, compared to two cases in Muthanna, and one case each in Salah al-Din and Wasit.

This monitoring of violations shows the extent of the decline in the level of press freedom in the country, as no city has been free from recording violations against journalists based on a  legal justification, and this monitoring also explains that the vital cities in the country (Baghdad, Erbil, Kirkuk, Basra) are in continuous decline, and this can be explained by the impact of the situation and political changes upon them.

To view the report, click on the link below

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