Iraqi journalists and activists exercising their right to freedom of expression suffer a number of violations and abuses in different parts of the country, Iraqi journalists and media workers are subject to varied violations, including abductions, enforced disappearances and physical assaults, in addition to preventing arbitrarily from covering activities or events taking place in some provinces, as in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
On 10 October 2022, BWAR News Agency reported, in a statement, that the agency's editor-in-chief Sarteeb Weisi Qashqai and news editor Ibrahim Ali were abducted while on their way to work in downtown Sulaymaniyah, and that their cell phone numbers were closed and therefore there was no way to have access to them.
For its part, the Association for the Defense of Press Freedom in Iraq indicated that the counter terrorism service in Sulaymaniyah was the one behind the arrests under the pretext that the two journalists have published corruption charges against the ruling parties in Sulaymaniyah.
Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) expresses its solidarity with the detained journalists and wishes them to be safe, and considers their arrest a violation of press freedom and the right of expression guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution that even obligates the authorities to protect this right.
The WJWC calls on the ruling authorities in Iraq and in the Kurdistan region to respect the freedom of the press and refrain from being hostile to freedom of expression and from undermining the space for journalistic work in Iraq.
The WJWC holds the Iraqi authorities responsible for the safety of media workers, especially after the recent rise in violence against journalists, and the deliberate targeting of them in various ways.
Iraq is at the bottom of the list of Arab countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index after it ranked 172 out of 180 countries, declining from 163 as in 2021. According to a local indicator, the Baghdad capital and Erbil in the Kurdistan region topped the list of governorates most hostile to journalists in 2021.
Women Journalists Without Chains
October 14, 2022