Iraq: A dozen journalists threatened online, while others attacked at government press conference
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has received a list of names of Iraqi journalists, bloggers and writers who have been subjected to a campaign of defamation by numerous web pages edited by unknown persons.
The list includes names known for their journalistic activities in recent years, including writer and journalist Omar Al-Shaher, writer and journalist Mushreq Abbas, writer and researcher Hisham Al-Hashimi, poet and blogger Ali Wajeeh, journalist Ridha Al-Shammari, activist and blogger Mustafa Al-Sofi, activist and blogger Steven Nabil, writer and researcher Hiwa Osman, journalist Sarmad Al-Taee, journalist Jumana Mumtaz, artist and graphic desiger Ahmed Falah, activist and blogger Sakar Al Zakaria, activist and blogger Hussein Ali, and historian and blogger Omar Mohammed.
They have been accused of working to promote normalisation with Israel by cooperating with Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) projects in Iraq, as can be seen in the above picture (in Arabic) despite their hard work to promote a culture of human rights in the country and defeat terrorism.
In other news, a group of journalists working for different satellite TV channels were attacked on 03 September 2019 by the protection forces of the President of Salah Al-Din Governorate Council after they entered the Council building to cover a press conference.
While denouncing the targeting of journalists, bloggers and writers in Iraq, GCHR declares its full solidarity with them and IWPR, with whom we have had a close partnership since the days when it was headed by journalist and human rights defender Ammar Al-Shahbander, who was killed during a terrorist attack in Baghdad in May 2015.
GCHR calls on the authorities in Iraq to:
- Conduct a thorough investigation into the online threats directed against journalists and human rights defenders and ensure their safety;
- Encourage an open and tolerant attitude to freedom of expression and opinion in Iraq;
- Ensure that journalists are able to carry out their work by freely and safely attending press conferences in public buildings; and
- Ensure that all journalists and human rights defenders in Iraq are able to work without facing restrictions, threats and harassment.