AFP
Last updated: 4 August, 2011

Iraqi security forces harassing media

Iraqi security forces are harassing journalists, especially television crews, media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Thursday, calling for such actions to stop.

“Reporters Without Borders is concerned about repeated harassment of media personnel, especial TV crews, by the Iraqi security forces,” a statement said.

“Physical attacks on journalists, confiscation of their material and orders preventing them working are all common despite Reporters Without Borders’ appeals to the Iraqi government,” it said.

The watchdog expressed “growing concern about a deterioration in the media’s ability to operate freely in Iraq,” citing several recent incidents.

Haidar Abid Hassan, a cameraman for Salaheddin TV was detained by security forces in Tikrit while covering an explosion on July 28, it said.

“He was forcibly taken to a military vehicle and beaten by soldiers. Then he was subjected to psychological harassment in connection with his work as a journalist,” RSF said.

It also cited the case of Saad Allah al-Khaledi, whom it said was detained while covering a July 22 demonstration in Baghdad, beaten and threatened with summary execution.

And RSF also said security forces attacked an Al-Baghdadia TV crew on July 17, injuring a soundman and destroying their generator.

New York-based press watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists said in June that Iraq topped its list of countries where media killings often go unpunished for the fourth year in a row, with an unsolved murder rate more than three times that of Somalia, which was next worst.