News / Middle East

Iraqi Journalists Battle to Report Freely

Iraqi Journalists Facing More Obstaclesi
March 25, 2013 3:36 PM
Media activists say Iraqi journalists are facing increasing levels of harrasment, and that new laws are needed to protect them and safeguard fair and unbiased reporting. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Baghdad, and Sebastian Meyer is the videographer.
Media activists say Iraqi journalists are facing increased levels of harrassment, and that new laws are needed to protect them and safeguard fair and unbiased reporting.
Scott Bobb
Transcript of video:
Journalists in Iraq face more and more obstacles to their reporting, according to media activists. Nevertheless, some media outlets continue to fight for a free and unbiased press.
Live from a studio at al-Baghdadia TV, Murtada Mohamed Ali is reporting on how journalists are being prevented from covering a Baghdad cultural festival.
Al-Baghdadia focuses a great deal on political events, such as upcoming local elections and corruption. Manager Mohamed Hanoon Kareem says that, as a result, the station has been shut down twice in the past three years.
“Many on our staff have been arrested and harassed by security forces," he says. "And sometimes when something happens, like an explosion, they won't let us cover it. Then sometimes they let us because it is not important to them.”
Ziad al-Ajili heads the media watchdog, Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. He says journalists now must obtain numerous permissions to cover even routine events.
“We publish a report on media freedom every year," he says. "This year's is the worst ever. The government has made new rules to pressure journalists and prevent us from working freely, especially the foreign media.”
Journalists face harassment by security forces as seen in this video by an Iraqi reporter who filmed himself being beaten while saying repeatedly that he was a journalist.
Activists say more than 140 journalists have been killed in Iraq in the past 10 years, one of the highest casualty rates in the world.
Dibras al-Ma'mouri founded the Iraqi Women Journalists Forum. She says female Iraqi reporters face even more challenges, from security forces as well as from colleagues.
“In Iraqi society they look at women as a lowly thing, not a working human being," she says. "They harass them. They try to prevent them from working. They think the woman was made just for housework and nothing else.”
Kareem of Baghdadia-TV says objective reporting by Iraq's journalists is also rare.
“About 90 percent of Iraqi journalists follow some ideological, political or sectarian opinion," he says. "A few are working objectively. They are the ones who face problems with the government.”
Media activists say laws are needed to allow journalists to work freely in Iraq and to protect them.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Srg. Bill Morton USMC from: USA
March 25, 2013 1:21 PM
do you have any idea how many of us died building these green parks in Iraq??

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs