PFAA documented 256 violations against journalists and media outlets in 2023, across all governorates of Iraq. Baghdad topped the list in terms of the number and type of violations, followed by Erbil, which witnessed the arrest and imprisonment of many fellow journalists. The violations varied between threats and intimidation, arrests and imprisonment, raids or storming of journalists’ homes or media outlets, preventing coverage, in addition to lawsuits that rose significantly this year.
This number is similar to the numbers recorded in the past three years, but the most prominent change this year is the adoption of a new strategy to intimidate journalists, with lawsuits, legal prosecutions, and threats of imprisonment and trials, in accordance with the Iraqi Penal Code and the publication crime articles drafted in 1969.
The type of violations was also different, as some of them exceeded the constitutional and legal powers of government agencies, including preventing the issuance of a journalist’s license, blocking a news website, filing lawsuits in courts outside Iraq against Iraqi journalists, in addition to attempts by the Communications and Media Commission to impose guardianship over the media, to silence any dissenting voice.
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