Committee to Protect Journalists seeks meeting with President Barzani

KT News:

Sardasht Osman

Sardasht Osman, murdered May 2010

A Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) delegation is visiting south Kurdistan next week and they have requested a meeting with President Barzani to discuss the findings of their recent report Mountain of impunity looms over Kurdistan journalists.

“The Kurdish region has prospered in the six years since our last trip on the back of oil exports and trade” blogs CPJ deputy director Robert Mahoney. “It has a vibrant and–for the region–relatively free press. But many of the underlying problems faced by Kurdish journalists, including threats, intimidation, imprisonment, and physical attacks, persist. The murders of two journalists and an arson attack on a TV station have gone unpunished”.

The CPJ wants to discuss the following recommendations, made in their report to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG):

  • Thoroughly investigate all unsolved attacks on journalists, including the murders of Sardasht Osman and Kawa Garmyane and the arson attack on Nalia Radio and Television (NRT), and hold to account all those responsible to the full extent of the law. Ensure that the families of killed or disappeared journalists are able to seek the truth about the fate of their relatives without fear of reprisal.
  • Publicly disclose the findings of the committee appointed by the president to investigate the murder of Sardasht Osman and any other official inquiries into attacks on journalists.
  • Provide training and education to judiciary and security officials to ensure no journalist is illegally detained in relation to his or her work. Publicly condemn instances of illegal detention and hold those responsible to account.
  • Take steps to amend the press law in consultation with local journalists, with the goal of banning vaguely worded prohibitions that are open to abuse and politicized prosecutions.

Mahoney is travelling with Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, and Namo Abdulla, who wrote the report. They are expecting to meet some KRG officials but, so far, they are still awaiting an invite to the president’s Salah ad-Din palace.

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