Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Forces in southern Iraq arrest reporter, photographer for Kurdistan Region media outlet

A media rights organization in Iraq announced late Friday evening that a reporter and a cameraman for the Zagros media outlet had been arrested in the southern city of Nasiriya while covering protests against the previous detention of a local activist.

The Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq (PFAAI) quoted Falah al-Fadhli, news director of the Erbil-based television channel, as saying that correspondent Ali Saleh and his cameraman were arrested while covering protests that began in downtown Nasiriya's al-Habboubi Square which was followed by clampdowns by security forces.

"The security forces, by arresting fellow journalists, continue to violate the constitution that guarantees freedom of journalistic work," read a statement released by the group.

"This was done without any reaction by the federal government and higher authorities," it continued, adding that the arresting forces are holding them both at an unknown destination.

The province for several days has been witnessing the resumption of nationwide demonstrations that have been going on since October 2019 that decry institutional corruption, poor public services, and few economic opportunities. 

The recent arrest of a well-known local activist has caused numbers in the street to spike and has led to additional detentions and injuries.

The Press Freedom Association condemned the arrest of the journalists, considering the act "a violation and constitutional breach of the principles of freedom of journalistic and media work in the country."

The association demanded that Iraqi Interior Minister Othman al-Ghanimi open an investigation into the incident, to immediately reveal their location, and to release them.

The PFAAI recorded the death of three journalists and over 300 other violations against various media workers in Iraq during 2020, with the disputed province of Kirkuk placing at the second-highest number of incidents after the capital of Baghdad.