Journalist freed in Mosul after being held for a month, but press freedom situation continues to deteriorate in Iraqi Kurdistan

first_img Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” IraqMiddle East – North Africa December 16, 2020 Find out more RSF_en Organisation Reporters Without Borders today welcomed the release of Faisal Abbas Ghazala, the correspondent of the satellite TV station Kolsat, on 21 December after more than a month in detention in Mosul but called on the Kurdistan regional government to show greater care and moderation in its measures affecting the news media. News IraqMiddle East – North Africa Reporters Without Borders today welcomed the release of Faisal Abbas Ghazala, the correspondent of the satellite TV station Kolsat, on 21 December after more than a month in detention in Mosul but called on the Kurdistan regional government to show greater care and moderation in its measures affecting the news media.“Journalists are being subjected to more and more restrictions in Iraqi Kurdistan, which was until now regarded as a haven of peace and safety for the press,” the organisation said. “The regional government has used the recent clashes between the Turkish army and PKK rebels based in Iraq to restrict journalists’ movements and activities. The draft press law recently adopted by the Kurdish parliament would, if ratified by President Barzani, be a very retrograde step.”Accused of terrorism, Ghazala, 34, spent a total of 31 days detained in different locations. He was arrested by Kurdish security forces who stormed into his home in Mosul early in the morning of 19 November and dragged from his bed. He was held in two different police stations before being transferred to Dohuk prison near Mosul.Ghazala told Reporters Without Borders he did not understand why he had been targeted. “They entered my home with an arrest warrant without taking the trouble to send me a previous summons, to which I would have definitely responded,” he said. “They then held me for more than 30 days without being able to charge me. Iraqi journalists not only have to endure violence from militias and armed groups but also state terrorism.” While held, Ghazala was questioned by his coverage of bombings that had taken place in the region.On 19 November, the Kurdish regional government banned journalists from going to meet PKK rebels who have found refuge in the Qandil mountains on the border between Iraq and Turkey. The Euphrates News Agency (FHA) reported that Kurdish Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani met with media representatives a few days later and asked them not to publish articles “running counter to Turkish interests.”On 11 December, the Kurdish national assembly voted a new draft law introducing heavy fines and prison sentences for press offences. The law has to be ratified by President Massoud Barzani in order to take effect. The president told representatives of the Kurdish Union of Journalist that he was going to reject the law and would ask parliament to amend it. But for the time being, nothing has been decided. Receive email alerts to go further News December 27, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist freed in Mosul after being held for a month, but press freedom situation continues to deteriorate in Iraqi Kurdistan News December 28, 2020 Find out more Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” February 15, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Iraq Newslast_img

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