We Reject the Arbitrary Restriction of Journalists and Media Institutions
Baghdad – National Union of Journalists
The National Initiative in Support of the Nonviolent October Uprising condemns the government’s use of unconstitutional measures to shut down a number of media outlets. The closures have been justified under the pretext that certain media institutions do not comply with the standards and procedures of the Communications and Media Commission (CMC). Journalists and media workers have long objected to these regulations due to the excessive flexibility possible in their interpretation and the resulting potential they give to officials to abuse their power.
The closure decisions came as a result of the continued coverage by the media of peaceful protests in al-Tahrir Square and other areas in the Iraqi provinces. These media outlets were exercising their crucial role to convey the facts and to communicate the voices of the uprising to the Iraqi and global public.
The restrictions on freedom of the press is a clear violation of freedom of expression explicitly guaranteed by the Iraqi Constitution Article 38, as well as by a number of international treaties and conventions ensuring these essential democratic freedoms. Thus, the Iraqi government is required to rescind its closure orders immediately and must actively protect and support the critical work of journalists and their media organizations. Only in this way will the concerns of the Iraqi people expressed in the nonviolent uprisings be represented openly and publicly. The government should refrain from all arbitrary measures which limit the freedom of information and expression, whether cutting off internet service or intimidating journalists and their institutions.
This initiative is also an urgent call on the Parliamentary Culture and Information Committee to stop these repressive practices and to hold accountable all those who seek to employ these kinds of unconstitutional policies.
The continued use of arbitrary measures to undermine freedom of expression and the press makes the Iraqi government the object of criticism and rebuke in the eyes of international community. This was clearly shown during the Universal Periodic Review of Iraq at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The National Initiative in Support of the Nonviolent October Uprising is supported by a number of professional and trade unions and civil society organizations.
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
- National Union of Journalists
- General Federation of Trade Unions of Iraq
- Iraqi Women Network
- Iraqi Social Forum
- Iraqi Al-Amal association
- Information Center for Research and Development
- Citizenship Society for Human Rights
- Tammuz Organization for Social Development
- Al-Ghad Organization for Dialogue and Development
- Nama Foundation for Media Training
- Burj Babel Organization
- Sports Against Violence – Iraq
- Tigris River Protectors Association
- Shakoufyan Organization for Development and Culture
- The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative
- Civil Center for Studies and Law Reform
- Iraqi Center for Labor Culture
- Iraqi Women’s League
- Public Aid Organization
- Iraqi Democratic Youth Federation
- Al-Haq Foundation for Human Rights
- For Her Organization
- Civilian Women Gathering
- Syndicate of Technical Engineering Professions
- Iraqi Council for Peace and Solidarity
- Ta’ayush Organization for Development and Relief
- Generations for Peace Network