Sunday, May 06, 2007

Surge in Violations Against Iraqi Journalists

Report Underscores Threat Against Freedom of Press in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq: An Iraqi falls in tears as he looks at framed pictures of Iraqi journalists who were killed in Iraq during the past three years, during a ceremony to commemorate their martyrdom in Baghdad, 05 April 2007. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

By ZEYAD KASIM

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory in Iraq (JFOI) registered 123 violations against Iraqi journalists and media workers in one year during the period between May 3, 2006, and May 3, 2007. In its annual report published on Thursday, JFOI said the total number of violations had doubled over the last year, with an average of one violation against a journalist every three days. The organization added that infringements against the freedoms of Iraqi journalists were not only carried out by terrorists, militant groups, militias, and Multi-National Forces, but also by Iraqi security forces, local authorities in Iraqi governorates, and Iraqi parliament. All violations have been made with impunity, the report asserted.

The report also accused local authorities of curtailing freedom of expression and opinion by imposing restrictions against Iraqi journalists operating in different governorates, issuing strict regulations to officials prohibiting them from disclosing information to the press, and banning journalists from covering demonstrations and public events.

The violations were classified as follows: 51 journalists killed and assassinated. 18 abducted, 14 arrested or detained, 40 different assault cases against media organizations.

Continued.