NGO: 200 journalists affected by violations in 2017

Photojournalist (representational photo)

Baghdad ( Violations of press workers’ rights have affected 200 journalists in Iraq throughout 2017, a journalists’ rights group has concluded in a report.

The Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association said in a recent report issued this week that it had documented 200 cases where reporters were exposed to assault across different Iraqi provinces.

It said those violations varied from “beating to blocking, threats, dismissal, unwarranted detentions, office assaults, assassinations, murder, confiscation of working kits, and publication-related litigations”.

According to IJRDA, arrests for journalists are made upon complaints submitted to Iraqi courts, a measure which the organization deemed “illegal and unsuitable for the stature of a journalist”. It said the Iraqi High Judicial Council should “not listen to complaints filed against reporters related to their publication or for doing their jobs”.

“Some officials sought the support of their tribes to pressure and intimidate reporters who publish investigations about corruption at a given ministry…which added to pressures practiced on reporters,” according to the organization.

Intimidation of reporters came from “terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State, armed groups, government officials, security officials and individuals with unknown affiliations,” IJRDA added.

It also noted that women reporters face “a double targeting” both for “their gender and their work as journalists”. It disclosed an “increase in harassments to the highest degrees”. It pointed that female reporters abstain from filing complaints of harassment “for social reasons”.

According to IJRDA, Iraqi reporters still face a difficulty obtaining information as the parliament had “neglected” a law proposed by the organization for freedom of accessing information.

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