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Watchdogs condemn raiding of media outlet by security in Sulaimani

  2021-07-13  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Watchdogs condemn raiding of media outlet by security forces in Sulaimani amid PUK tensions
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – The Metro Center for Journalists' Rights and Advocacy condemned in the strongest terms the raiding of IPlus Media Corporation by a security force in Sulaimani, calling it as a way to “quash” and narrow the space for the freedom of the press and expression. 

“The Metro Center is denouncing the raiding of iPlus TV channel by an armed force in the city of Sulaimani,” the watchdog said in a statement.

On Tuesday evening, a security force raided the premises of iPlus Media Corporation affiliated with Co-President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (puk) Lahur Sheikh Jangi, broke the reporting and broadcasting equipment and detained its CEO and the employees for about an hour.

A security force has been reportedly stationed in the premises of the media corporation. 

The raid came following the recent tensions between Sheikh Jangi with his counterpart and cousin Bafel Talabani after the latter unilaterally changed some security chiefs and changed his party's title from co-president to president.

The Metro Center called for the PUK’s conflicts “not to come down to the suppressing and narrowing of the freedom and journalism.” 

Rayal Kurdi, another watchdog, also denounced the raiding, describing it as “a dangerous attempt to limit freedom of speech in the Kurdistan Region and Sulaimani.”

It urged the PUK officials “not to sacrifice media and press freedom for the sake of the party’s internal conflicts. 

“Kurdish Rayal strongly condemns raiding iPlus channel and stresses that protecting the lives of the channel’s employees and journalists is the responsibility of the security forces,” it added.

In a joint a statement, two Kurdish lawmakers from the Iraqi parliament are calling for an end to “the militarization of Sulaimani.”

“Someone named Bafel Talabani has seized the counterterrorism and intelligence agencies in Sulaimani, has changed its senior officials and is issuing orders of his own free well without having a governmental responsibility,” lawmaker Ghalib Muhammad and Sarkawt Shamsadin said in a joint statement. 

“We are attributing the responsibility to Qubad Talabani, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister and the PUK,” they said, calling on the Kurdistan Parliament, Iraq’s Council of Representatives and the international human rights organizations European and US envoys to take a stance on the developments in Sulaimani.

The raid comes as a delicate time for the Kurdistan Region as it has come under scrutiny by local and international organizations and foreign missions for deteriorating state of the freedoms, such as the press freedom, the freedom of expression and media.

385 violations against journalists and media outlets were logged throughout 2020, according to Metro.

(Zhyan English)