2019/01/17 | 14:20
(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- Last year, two dozen journalists were arrested in the Kurdistan Region without a court ruling, a media watchdog has found among hundreds of other reported violations."METRO‘s 2018 report on the situation of journalists has emphasized that in the Kurdistan Region in addition to the existence of journalism law, yet the retaliatory spirit against journalists is prevalent," read an announcement.Metro Center for Journalists Rights & Advocacy (METRO) held a press conference in Erbil on Thursday and strongly criticized the Kurdistan Region‘s recent media freedom record.Free media is decreasing while bias and shadow media has increased, METRO found.They reported documenting hundreds of violations against journalists and media workers.Member Shna Baba Ali said 264 journalists and media outlets filed complaints with the advocacy group — totaling 349 alleged violations. Ali added 24 journalists were arrested devoid a court verdict and 17 others detained based on court rulings. Additionally, there were 13 cases of beatings, 12 injuries, 26 of equipment confiscation, and 57 of threats and insults.There were five instances of banning TV broadcasts and one case of an office being torched. Taking part in the press conference, Zana Pitros, the head of the Human Rights Board in Kurdistan, said it has dedicated a sector to advocate for the journalists and media workers since 2013. Pitros hoped for the local Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to take into account the violations recently reported by METRO. Journalists being barred from covering events was the most common problem in 2018, according to figures from the Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate which were released in early January. The media advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has described Iraq as "one of the world‘s most dangerous countries for journalists" where journalists are targeted by pro-government forces and the rebel groups, including ISIS.