2017: The Journalists in Iraq are Facing Death
PM:05:37:14/01/2018

- Report of the National Union of Journalists (NUJI) in Iraq about press freedom in Iraq.
- The publishing and printing of this report supported by the IMS (International Media Support), in cooperation with the observatory unit of NUJI.
- All rights reserved for NUJI.
Observatory Unit: 009647703024401
mustafa.press2011@gmail.com
Index:
1. Preamble
2. Murder and threat
3. War Reporters
4. Restrictions and Blocking
5. Attacks and Impunity
6. Union situations
7. Recommendations

Preamble
The danger faced by the Iraqi journalists haven't been ended for 14 years, and this year the number of people killed and wounded while covering the battels in the front lines has increased and even those who have covered events in stable areas have not been spared attacks, harassment and blocking.
According to the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report published in April 2017, Iraq returned to be one of the countries whose it's rate index of press freedom declines to rank the 158th in the world with 54.03 points out of 180 countries included in this report.
Dozens of journalists who covered the most dangerous areas of the world has been killed and injured due to the fighting between Iraqi forces and Daesh, at a time when none of the media outlets who sent them were interested in their work safety or insure their rights through signing contracts with them or providing social security for them.
Moreover, some security authorities abused a number of media outlets during the coverage of the ongoing protests in the country, and prevented more than once a number of media outlets from covering the events in the demonstration areas and confiscated the devices of some channels and assault on media cadres.
A group of journalists faced threats of liquidation due to covering the events of this year. On the legislative level, the Iraqi Council of Representatives has tried to pass the Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Demonstration Act in its police form, but the pressure exerted by the NUJIand a group of partner organizations and activists has prevented this.
In 2017, the observation unit of the National Union monitored the abuses on the journalists and sent their reports to the Iraqi government, the local and international organizations and the media to inform the concerned authorities about the violations and incidents happened to the journalists.
Threat of death persists against the Iraqi journalists working in the front lines and/or in "safe" cities, while the country is witnessing political, security and military conflicts, it has suffered numerous violations against press and media members to date, then to be registered either against unknown persons or the well-known identity perpetrators have escaped punishment.
In addition, the Iraqi journalist still facing another danger, to be added to the risk of killing, harassment and intimidation. The Iraqi legislator cares no more about the necessity to have the legislations and laws exist to oblige a prosecution on the aggressors against the journalists, and in the same time the Iraqi legislator impose on the media institutions to sign contracts for their employees which led those media institutions to terminate the services of dozens of employees suddenly without warning or compensation for the period of termination of work.
Although there is a journalists' rights law but it's still deficient and needs a lot of amendments and until now some of the articles it contains are important and necessary but have not been applied in to a practical action.
The article 13 of the said law stipulates that "local and foreign media outlets operating in the Republic of Iraq shall be required to conclude employment contracts with journalists working in those areas according to a templet prepared by the Journalists' Union in the Center or the Regions".
Reports and press research have shown that Iraqi journalists are still working without contracts with their institutions, which is pushing these institutions to release the workers collectively, especially as some of them (the institutions) are experiencing a major economic crisis.
In the first four months of 2017, the status of the press in Iraq had no difference from what it was in the previous years. The workers in this profession were killed, threatened, harassed and neglected again.
The period from 3rd May to 31st August 2017 had faced several violations against the journalists at the conflict zones or the areas under the control of the Iraqi Government.
This annual report is covering events from January, 1st to December, 31st 2017, many events faced by the Iraqi and non-Iraqi journalists working in Iraq. The report includes files, killings, threats, war reporters, blocking and restriction in addition to the union attitudes or situations.
The annual report relied on various sources of information, including special interviews, observation unit reports, as well as the reports from our partner the Metro organization which is operating in the region of Iraqi, in addition to the media outlets who reported on the violations of their staffs.
Research and preparation: Mustafa Saadoun
Chief of the Observatory Unit
The National Union of Journalists in Iraq
mustafa@rights-iq.org
Murder and Threat
• The attacks on journalists in 2017 began with the assassination of the journalist and lawyer Abdul Qader Al-Qaisi when he found killed on January, 5th 2017 after his disappearance while he was heading back from Erbil to Baghdad to celebrate the new year with his family.
• On Feb.21st, 2017, the staff of the "Wilayet Bateikh" program broadcasted by the "Huna Baghdad" TV channel were exposed to tribe's threats by a group that did not reveal its identity because of a television scene that some considered it an "abuse" of a community figure.
The NUJI expressed its concern about the threat faced by the program staff that reached to an armed attack launched at the program director's house "Ali Fadel" without any action against the aggressors taken by the local authorities, like by identifying their identity at least.
"On Feb. 21st, 2017, an armed group attacked my house located in the Al-Saadoun area the center of Baghdad and fired around 25 bullets at the house, which gave rise to great fear and terror to my family," said Mr. Fadel, the program director .
"What happened to us is an attack of a gang aimed to extortion, not a tribal method, and what we were exposed to can be exposed to everyone unless the Iraqi government takes the necessary procedures to protect the citizens in general and the press and media staff in particular ".
The TV program "Wilayet Bateikh" is one of programs that have a big resonate in the Iraqi and non-Iraqi communities, which is presenting the political issues and social negativity in a comical way.
• On Feb. 26th, 2017, the Kurdish channel "Rudawo" reporter "Shefa Kurdi" was killed during her covering battles being waged by the Iraqi security forces against Daesh in Mosul.
The reporter Kurdi was killed while filming a program (from Mosul), after an explosive device exploded in a liberated village.
• In mid-April, 2017, a group of journalists and media workers in Karbala informed the NUJI that they had been restricted, attacked, threatened to be killed or arrested by influential political groups in the province and members of the security services.
Haidar Hadi, a reporter working for NRT Arabiya in the province, was subjected to two successive attacks in one month, the first of which was when he was subjected to an attempted murder by a police officer responsible for protecting the governorate council," a group of journalists and mass media officials said in a letter to the NUJI's observatory unit. Karbala, to be followed by another attack by some members of the local police in the province during a field coverage carried out by him.
The group added that their colleague "Walid al-Salhi, a reporter working for the "Al-Tageer" satellite channel in Karbala, was attacked by some local police officers who are responsible for protecting the provincial council until and prevented him from entering the governorate council for unknown reasons."
Moreover, they pointed out that "a member of the security forces of the province attacked the cameraman of Al-Ghadeer channel after being attacked by hand and prevented him from entering the Directorate of Crimes putting in consideration that he wasn't intended to get in there anyway."
• On May 9th, 2017, The journalist Soran Saqzi was found with gunshot wounds at his workplace in the 100-meter street in Erbil.
Saqzi was working as a program presenter called "Travel Wonders" for Kurdistan satellite channels. "In mysterious circumstances, the died body of the journalist Soran Saqzi was found at his workplace in Erbil."
Erbil police chief announced in an official statement that "Soran Saqzi, has committed suicide by shooting himself at his workplace in Erbil."
• On May 31st, 2017, "Suhaib Al-Hiti" the reporter of the "Asia" satellite channel in Anbar province was killed by a suicide bombing in Heet district while he was covering an event of a respect stand for the martyrs of a suicide attack of one of the Karrada explosions.
• On June 19th, 2017, the journalist "Bakhtiar Haddad" and a French journalist "Stephane Villeneuve" were killed along with other journalists from the same group while covering the battles in Mosul.
Haddad, who used to live in Erbil, worked for the French newspaper " Le Figaro" and several other French sites. Since the beginning of the ended liberation battles in Mosul, he worked as an interpreter with the journalists of the French Channel One and Two.
He accompanied the forces involved in the liberation of Mosul from the beginning of operations until the moment of his death. He was wounded three times during that period.
On June 24th, 2017, the NUJI received news about death of the French journalist Veronique Robert, who was injured by a mine explosion in Mosul which killed two of her colleagues just days before her death.
• On July 4th, 2017, Hamza Al-Lami, the National News Agency (NINA) reporter was killed while covering the liberation battles for the rest of the left bank areas in Mosul. Al-Lami worked as a reporter for the agency in Karbala province for almost two years. He traveled from time to time to cover battles in Mosul accompanied by a number of the Popular Mobilization units PMF "Al-Hashed Al-Sha'bi".
"Al-Lami was asking continuously and voluntarily, without any tasking by the agency to cover the battles in Mosul believing in the role of the journalist in the fight against terrorism," Shafiq Al-Obeidi" the executive director of NINA said in his meeting with the NUJI.
He added that "the reporter of NINA agency in Karbala, who was killed in Mosul was on the front lines of the old city of Mosul, and was subjected to the fire of Daesh when he was accompanied by one of the Popular Mobilization units PMF "Al-Hashed Al-Sha'bi".
The observatory unit at the NUJI, which observes and documents violations of journalists' rights, advised war reporters to stick by the occupational health & safety standards during combat coverage and urged them not to rush to the front lines with military units for their own safety.
The observatory unit also confirmed in a statement that "some scenes documented the rush of journalists to cover in areas that pose a threat to their lives, which does not comply with the standards of occupational health & safety standards, which requires the journalist to work to spare himself the danger".
• On July 7th, 2017, the reporter of Salah al-Din "Harb Hazza Al-Dulaimi" and the photographer "Sou'd Al-douri" was killed after an attack by Deash at the Imam village in the west of Qayyara district.
• On August 26th, 2017, a journalist working for the Karbala satellite channel was killed while covering the liberation battles at the Telafar district, which was launched on August 19th , 2017.
A group of journalists reported to the observatory unit at the NUJI that the photographer of the Karbala satellite channel "Sajjad Najim Abid Ajeel" was killed at the Telafar district when he was exposed to an explosive device while he was escorting the security forces to cover the battles.
Karbala satellite channel said in a news on its website that "the war reporter of Karbala satellite channel and the bridged "Ali Al-Akbar" "Sajjad Najim Abid Ajeel" won the honor of being martyr when he was exposed to an explosive device while he was escorting the advanced military units to liberate Telfar district".
"The news of the killing the cameraman of Karbala satellite channel is very painful, and more prompt us to ask journalists to submit to the union for any instructions and trainings on occupational health & safety," said Amal Saqer, deputy head of the NUJI, added "Unfortunately, we occasionally lose a group of journalists during the coverage of the fighting, but these losses have many reasons, including failure to be obligated by the measures of the occupational health & safety and rushing with the first military units facing fighting by terrorist organizations and this exposing the journalists to the risks".
• On August 22nd, 2017, the NUJI called on the Ministry of Interior to investigate the incident of a police officer had threatened a journalist while performing his journalistic duties.
"On August 21st , he was covering a demonstration for the owners of nightclubs in Al-Firdous Square, center of Baghdad," said Ahmed al-Hajj, a reporter for "Huna Baghdad" satellite channel while he was communicating with the NUJI. "Once the live broadcast started, a member of the federal police asked to stop filming" .
"The police officer told us that the filming was forbidden, in spite the fact that there was no violation or prevention exist. When I started talking on air to the "people talking" program, a captain came and told the photographer to turn off the camera, " I can't, I will be questioned by the channel" the photographer replied.
"I asked the officer to talk to me, I am in charge of the staff. He asked me to stop filming because it's not allowed as he mentioned. I asked him why he answered, shut the camera off with no discussion and when I told him that I can't stop filming, replied with a threating way "Baseeta" Fine), I consider this word a threat to my life. "
"The Iraqi Interior Ministry should investigate this incident and prevent individual actions by some security officers, especially since the "Huna Baghdad" channel holds licenses to work and photograph," said Amal Saqer, the deputy head of the National Union of Journalists in Iraq.
"There are ways, we won't say methodological, but they show a negative indication of some security men treatment with media, and this puts us in front of restrictions that some security men imposed while performing their duty in the street."
• On October 1st, 2017, the NUJI expressed its regret for the cameraman loose of the "Al-Nujeba'" satellite channel "Louay Sadiq Meshal Al-Shammari" while He was covering the liberation battles in the province of Salah al-Din.
"The channel's cameraman Louay Al-Shammari was accompanying the "Al-Nujaba'" movement for the Popular Mobilization "Al-Hashid Al-Sha'bi" during the liberation of the Makhoul mountains in Salah al-Din," said the director of the Al-Nujaba channel Amir al-Quraishi".
He added that "a car bomb belong to Daesh targeted the military force that was accompanied by Al-Shammari to cover the battles, caused his death."
Louay Sadeq Al-Shammari, born in 1994, used to work with the war media for the Al-Nujaba movement since May 2014 and has covered dozens of battles over the last three years.
"We regret the news we hear from time to time about the killing of some journalists who are covering battles against Daesh," said Mustafa Saadoun, the head of the observatory unit at the NUJI.
"The media, which sent its media cadres to cover the fighting, were supposed to provide all the facilities and what is required that would help them to protect themselves. Journalists should not take risks and put themselves at the front lines that pose a threat to their lives," Saadoun added.
• On October 30th , 2017, a cameraman of Kurdistan TV " Arkan Sharif" was killed at his house by a knife stab. Sherif used to work for Kurdistan TV, a branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, in his sixth decade, where he worked for the channel for more than 10 years.
The union expressed its fears that the incident of the killing of the cameraman of the Kurdistan channel is the beginning of a wave of violence will reach journalists in the regions of the province and Kirkuk, which the last has also been strained since September 25th, 2017 when the referendum of the independence of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was conducted.
"A group of masked gunmen stormed the house of our channel cameraman and killed him," said Karwan Eckeri, the director general of the Kurdistan Satellite TV (VOI), as the Metro Org. , the local partner of the National Union of the Journalists in Iraq mentioned.

War Reporters: An easy target for Daesh attacks
• Since the launch of the military operation "We are coming, Ninewa" on October 17th, 2016 to expel Daesh from Nineva province, Iraqi journalists have been exposed to real risks due to lack of physical safety equipment.
While Daesh used a method to target the journalists directly and accurately to prevent other reporters from covering the progress of Iraqi forces in the north of Iraq.
• On January 14th, 2017, the reporter of the "Al-Ittijah" satellite channel Ali Mutair was injured while covering the battles of liberating the University of Mosul from Daesh. A sniper from Daesh targeted Mutair, who was on the roof of a house in the city to film the battles.
• On January 15th, 2017, a reporter for the Kurdistan Channel, Kielan Botani, was injured during covering of battles between the counterterrorism division and Daesh militants inside Mosul University. Botani's right hand was injured after small shrapnel entered while covering the fighting there.
• On 16th January 2017, Al-Hurra reporter "Abdel Hamid Zebari" and assistant photographer "Yasser Salem" accompanied him, were injured while covering the liberation battles of Mosul.
Al-Hurra reporter and photographer were injured in al-Faisaliah area on the coast of the left city of Mosul after a plane belong to Daesh threw a bomb at the security forces who were nearby it.
• On February 24th, 2017, Al-Nujaba satellite channel photographer "Alaa Hussein" was injured while covering ongoing battles to liberate the right coast of Mosul.
Al-Nujaba's colleagues told the NUJI that he was wounded when he was covering the battle to liberate the right coast, where he was accompanying the counterterrorism division at "Tel Al-Rumman" in the west of the city.
Hussein was wounded on his foot after an aircraft dropped a convoy of bombs while escorted by the counterterrorism division, which was moving towards its military targets.
• On March 3rd, 2017, the director of the news website "Roj News" Shenna Faiq reported to the Metro Center that the journalist Noziane Ehrhan (editor-in-chief of Suzanne magazine) a women's magazine, was injured during clashes between Kurdish forces in Sinjar district.
• On March 17th, 2017, the reporter of the "Beladi" satellite channel "Sabah Hakim" was injured while covering the battles to liberate the right coast of Mosul.
Hakim covered the military operations for almost two years in the provinces of Salah al-Din and Anbar, as well as the battles that took place in the province of Ninewa.
Hakim's colleagues told the NUJI that "he was wounded during covering battles to liberate the right coast with a shell RBG7, indicating that" Hakim was hit by his foot and his hand then took to a hospital in Erbil".
• On March 31st , 2017, the cameraman "Ammar Abdul-Zahra" and the reporter "Hussein Ahmad" were wounded in Mosul by a sniper while they were covering the fighting there. Ahmed and Abdul-Zahra are working for the satellite TV channel Beladi to cover the battles waged by the Iraqi security forces against Daesh in the right coast of Mosul.
"A Daesh sniper targeted the live television (sng) that was carrying them with four bullets, one of which penetrated one of the protective shields worn by the reporter of Beladi channel Hussein Ahmed, while the photographer Ammar Abdul-Zahra was injured," the colleagues told the NUJI that it was not as serious hit as the case of his fellow reporter. "
• On June 12th, 2017, "Yaser Jabbar" the reporter for the "Afaq" satellite channel from Baghdad, was wounded while covering battles in the right coast of Mosul. Jabbar was injured while escorted by the rapid reaction forces in the battles to liberate Al-Shifa district on the right bank of Mosul.
"Yasser Jabbar has accompanied the joint forces since the beginning of the liberation of Mosul in the front lines within the forces of the counterterrorism division, the Popular Mobilization "Al-Hashed Al-Sha'bi" and the federal police before being injured," the news channel Afaq reported on its official website.
"Jabbar was hit by a sniper's bullet in his neck. The bullet extended to his heart and caused internal bleeding in one of the arteries before the field medical teams in the battle of Mosul were able to treat him," said Mohammed al-Hamad, director of the Afaq channel to the NUJI.
The Deputy head of the NUJI, Amal Saqr said "it is unfortunate to repeat the same mistakes made by the press cadres while covering the fight against terrorism, and this puts us in front of real risks in the upcoming period by risking the journalists their lives."
On July 5th, 2017, "Mu'amal Majeed", a media reporter for Al-Iraqiya TV, was wounded while covering the battles of liberating the right bank of Mosul with gangs of Daesh the terrorist.
Al-Iraqiya news channel reported that Majeed "was injured while documenting the battles to liberate the last neighborhoods of the old city of Mosul."
On November 16th, the NUJI said that "the war reporter Rana al-Ajili was martyred during the coverage of the battles between the Iraqi security forces and Daesh at the Iraqi-Syrian border.
al-Ajili, who worked in the war media for two years, was martyred in Al-Qaim district, west of Anbar province with an explosive device that targeted the military force that was accompanying her.
A video documenting the last moments of Al Ajili's life showed how she was carrying her camera, shooting the battle and then falling off with an explosive device.
The NUJI expressed regret for the loss of its colleague Rana al-Ajili and valued her sacrifice in order to convey the information and cover an important stage of the war on terror.
"The loss of Al Ajili is a shock to all journalists in Iraq and the world, because we have lost a human being in addition to a journalist," said Zamen al-Fatalawi, a colleague of Rana al-Ajili during an interview with the NUJI.
"The loss of our colleagues journalists in the fight against terrorism prompts us to insist more on holding onto our national media and documenting the difficult stages Iraq is going through," Al-Fatalawi added..
"It is a regret to hear the loss of our colleague Rana al-Ajili, but this calls on us to renew our call to all colleagues to preserve their lives while covering events in areas of conflict in the future," said Amal Saqer, the deputy head of the NUIJ.
"The Iraqi journalists have paid a high price to pass on the information to the Iraqis and to show the tragedy of our people experienced during Daesh existence".
"We have repeatedly stressed on the importance of the media institutions' commitment to preserving the safety of their journalists and not to risk them at the front lines and to push them to the front lines," said Mustafa Saadoun, the head of the observatory unit at the NUJI.

Restrictions & Blocking
• Some security members is still dealing with journalists as criminals, and the right to media coverage is not a right guaranteed by national laws and international covenents.
The press community periodically witnesses a ban and a number of journalists in the course of their duty to be detained for hours without any legal justification.
• Al-Sharqiya reporter in Baghdad Khatab Al-Hiti, was the first journalist threatened in 2017.
In January 2017, he faced threats from the Minister of Planning, the undersecretary Minister of Commerce Salman al-Jumaili and his brother following a television report prepared by Al-Hiti "Mixing rotten rice with good" done by one of the Ministry of Commerce stores.
In an interview w, Al-Sharqiya reporter Khatab al-Hiti, told the NUJI's observatory unit about the "threats" he had received by a telephone call from the minister, followed by another call from the minister's brother, which also included another threat.
• On January 10th , 2017, the Iraqi security forces prevented four Iraqi channels (Alsumaria, Al-Hadeth, Dijla and Al-Mada) covering the demonstrations at the Tahrir Square in center of Baghdad.
Some members of the security forces justified the ban on the grounds that "there is no license to film the demonstrations." This happened at a time when the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, confirmed the necessity to consider the "Iraqi media is the fourth authority right."
The Prime Minister pointed the need to do the Iraqi media staff their work away from the complexities and actions taken by the police governments against the freedom of the media, while we found the contrary on the ground.
According to the reports reached the observatory unit of the NUJI in 2017, the measures to prevent journalists from covering the field events in Iraqi cities, especially those related to popular demonstrations, have increased.
A journalist who covered the January 10th, 2017 demonstrations said: "On that day, some members of the security forces acted strictly with the press personnel, although all the institutions covered the demonstrations had work permits and licenses from the institutions of the state concerned, but what happened may have been a personal behavior by some of them ".
• On January 17th, 2017 the security forces prevented arrival of media and press personnel to the Al- Rasheed Hotel, where the interrogation of former governor of Baghdad Ali Al-Tamimi was conducted. Many journalists complained about security procedures at the Al-Rasheed Hotel's gate and delayed their entry for more than two and a half hours.
"The security services tried to delay the arrival of the journalists due to the security procedures. It was the first time that media personnel were delayed from entering the Al-Rasheed Hotel," said journalists who were denied entry.
On February 3rd, 2017, the photographer of the Al-Ahad satellite channel in Diwaniya province Mustafa Faleh was arrested without any justification by the security forces, as well as the absence of any judicial order.
Mustafa Faleh, said in an interview with the NUJI that "he was on the Al-Mu'aleq bridge in the province with a colleague and saw a human gathering of about 300 people, once he arrived the gathering, he knew that there is a drowning man in the river and people are trying to get him out. "
"I was carrying the logo of the channel with my hand. I did not take the camera out of my camera bag, but the security forces arrested me few seconds after the provincial police chief passed by and greeted us. I did not know the reason for arresting us."
"He was detained at the Republican police station for two hours after police accused him of violating them, but he confirms that he did not commit any act that contravenes the law and violated his right as a citizen and a journalist."
• On March 4th, 2017, Roj News reporter Swara Mahmood was arrested in Erbil while performing his journalistic duty.
"We condemn the arrest of the reporter of the agency Roj News Swara Mahmood while covering a demonstration in Erbil, whose purpose was to condemn the internal fighting in Sinjar district," said the head of the Committee for the Defense of Journalists' Rights in the Kurdistan Regional Union of Kurdistan, Hamid Badrakhan.
"The journalist has the right to cover any demonstration or activity, whether the demonstration was authorized or not, it is not the journalist's problem," said Rahman Ghraib, the coordinator of the Metro Center for the Defense of Journalists.
• In the beginning of April 2017, some officials of the Diwaniyah local government sued a group of journalists for "defamation". Government officials have forgotten that these cases restrict the freedom of opinion and expression in the country, especially as they contradict the provisions of the Iraqi constitution.
A member of the observatory unit of the NUJI, Diwaniyah province, said that "the Diwaniyah court issued in early April 2017 orders to summon journalists who filed lawsuits against them in accordance with Article 433 of the Penal Code."
Article 433 of the Penal Code No. 111 of 1969 stipulates that "defamation is to assign a certain incident to others in one of the public ways which would be valid if it is punishable by a person who is accused or despised by the people of his country and is punishable by the imprisonment of another person with imprisonment or with a fine or with either of these two penalties" .
The article adds: "If libel is committed by publishing in newspapers or publications or in any other media, this is neither an aggravating circumstance, nor is it acceptable for the libeler to establish proof of what he has assigned unless the libel is directed at an employee or a public service officer or a person with a general parliamentary capacity or was carrying out a work related to the interests of the public and was assigned by the ejector related to the function of the libeler or his work, if he established evidence of everything assigned by the crime disappeared.
Issa al-Kaabi, a journalist who was sued for defamation said to the NUJI that he "did not commit any defamation, libel or insult, all that he and a group of journalists plus some activists expressed their opinion on community issues and did not target specific individuals".
• On April 28th, 2017 the Iraqi Media Network reporter at the House of Representatives' "Heba al-Sudani" told the NUJI that she was prevented from entering the House of Representatives by one of its members, "Faiq Al-Sheikh Ali".
The Sudani said to the NUJI that "the MP Faiq Al-Sheikh Ali, held almost a year ago a press conference in the House of Representatives and attacked the Iraqi media network and its employees and called them with an inappropriate words."
She added: "When the press conference finished, I informed the MP that I fully refuse his method of attacking the Iraqi media network and its staff as a reporter for the network and its representative in the House of Representatives. Al-Sheikh Ali coordinated with the previous general manager of the network "Mohammed Abdul Jabbar Al-Shabot" to prevent me entering the parliament for four months".
"After the network management changed, I followed the legal procedures inside the institution and was able to return to work as a reporter in the House of Representatives, but after five months of my return I was surprised with a report I received from the press center at the parliament a massege preventing me from entering again." She added,
"The new ban was also made by MP Faiq al-Sheikh Ali and I do not know what powers the MP has to prevent journalists from doing their work in the House of Representatives," she said in an interview with the NUJI.
• On June 20th, 2017, the security authorities in Erbil detained the journalist Massoud Abdel Khaliq and released on bail after seven hours of detention at a police station in Erbil.
The acting Peshmerga Minister had filed a complaint against the journalist Abdul Khaliq accusing him of defaming the Peshmerga forces and was detained in accordance with Article 2 of Law No. 6 of 2008 on the Prevention of Abuse of Communication Devices.
• On May 21st, 2017, the security authorities in Kifri district of Diyala province, NRT reporter "Aram Bakhtiar" been arrested on the charges of covering the courts' news. According to the Metro Center, the NRT report was about a verdict issued by the judiciary against a citizen who stole diapers and baby milk, but the authorities there considered him an interference in the work of the courts, although the report was broadcasted after the verdict.
For the same case, the court issued an order of detention to the director of the NRT channel, Awat Ali, for seven days, but released him a day later on bail of 6 million Iraqi dinars.
• On 20th May 2017, the National Union of Journalists said that "the local government in Anbar province closed the office of "Dijla" satellite channel in the province after "publishing documents on corruption operations", the channel claimed.
"A member of the Anbar Provincial Council "Taha Abdul Ghani", in a declassified and unrealistic statement, sent a sound clip announcing the decision of the provincial council to close the offices of the Dijla channel in Anbar," Dijla channel reported on its official website.
"Instead of resorting to verify the documents presented by the channel, the provincial council ordered to close the channel's office is a soled proof and confirm that what the channel presented of documents is real and exist" the channel added.
In an interview with the Observatory Unit of the NUJI, the director of news of Dijla channel at that time, Ahmed Zangana, said: "In a shocking and arbitrary procedure, the Anbar Provincial Council decided in its ordinary session on May 16th, 2017 to close the offices of "Dijla" channel in Anbar, citing the channel's abandonment of neutrality, independence and attempting to restore the province to the first box and defamation and demarcation of political symbols in Anbar. "
" Dijla channel confirms that the decision is arbitrary and built on the background of disclosure of documents of corruption and the very short period of an official investigation without legal ends and put it to questions about political figures in the province involved in various smuggling operations and others released, despite proven involvement".
The director of news unit of Dijla channel pointed out that "despite the launch of the channel for all official and legal documents, the channel has invited all the characters who were named in the documents to defend themselves and on the screen of Dijla channel to create a state of balance and applying of the right to reply principle in hand and listening to the other party in other hand.
• On August 2nd, 2017, the National Union of Journalists warned against the return of the prevention of journalists process from media coverage by some security agencies, as it indicates that there is not enough room for media freedom in Iraq.
• On July 29th, 2017, reporter Faisal al-Kraiti, were prevented members of the Al-Husseiniya threshold in Karbala, Al-Sharqiya from covering a speech of Bader's Secretary-General, Hadi al-Amiri.
Although Faisal al-Kraiti attended was officially invited by the threshold, some of the members prevented him without any reasons.
• On July 31st , 2017, the guards of Al -Falluja Educational Hospital prevented NRT reporter "Nabil Azami" from entering the hospital and covering a press conference held by the US Ambassador of Iraq Douglas Suleiman about the reconstruction of Anbar province.
"One of the hospital guards blocked my way while I was about to enter the hospital to cover the conference without any reason," Azami said. "There is no conference inside the building, the guard pretended."
"The guard spoke to me in a tight tone and I do not know why, even though I showed the channel's badge, but he refused to let me go in."
• On July 31st, 2017, the Federal Police prevented the NRT Arab TV team from covering the killing of two youth in "Ghazaliya" district, west of Baghdad.
"The federal police detained them for two hours because the channel team wanted to make a story about the two youth after they were killed in their shop selling liquors," he told NRT Arabiya colleagues.
"The return of preventing journalists procedures from covering the events confirms the existence of a negative indicator in the understanding of the security men to the press work, which in itself is a major problem facing media staffs working in Iraq," said Amal Saqer, the deputy head of the National Union of Journalists in Iraq.
"The state security institutions should educate their members on how to deal with journalists, especially those with full licenses and work permits, and we do not want the preventive actions taken on the basis of the mood of some security personnel," she said.
• On 17th December, the governor of Anbar, Mohammed Al-Halbusi, announced that he would prevent Al-Sharqiya channel from covering the events in the province. On this basis, the NUJI confirmed that he does not have the authority to make such decisions.
The union said in a press statement that "the decision of the governor of Anbar to prevent Al-Sharqiya channel from covering in the province is not commensurate with the local and international standards of freedom of information and allowing media to transfer facts."
Al-Sharqiya said in a press statement that "the decision issued by the governor of Anbar to close the office of the channel in the province can't be counted only to exploit his political influence, and this decision came after the rejection of the channel to stop presenting corruption cases in the province."
• On December 19th, 2017, the NUJI condemned the closure of NRT channels in the city of Sulaymaniyah by the Kurdish security forces and the detention of the channel staff inside.
The NUJI expressed its regret over the exposure of NRT channel and its media staff. NUJI stressed that the orders given to close the channels can't meet with the democratic standards that the country is supposed to live in.
According to a NRT channel statement, a security force of about 200 armed men stormed the NRT channel group building in Sulaymaniyah at 6:45 pm on Tuesday 19/12/2017, and besieged the members in their offices and asked them to halt work before holding them in one of the channel halls and proceeded to confiscate the transmission equipment and the equipment of the channel, before asking the workers of the channel to leave.
"The actions of the authorities of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq towards the channels of NRT was illegal, and the closure did not include any judicial memorandum or any complaint against the channel," said the head of the observatory unit at the NUJI, Mustafa Saadoun.
• On December 20th, 2017, the Asayish forces in Sulaymaniyah arrested the Asia TV cameraman Mohammed Ghulam and the reporter of the Al-Ittijah channel Ali Al-Tuwaijri without any reason.
The NUJI expressed dismay at the irresponsible behavior by the security authorities in the city of Sulaymaniyah during the days of demonstration there and the repeated attacks against media staffs.
"When my colleague and I arrived to the place where the press conference of the MP Sarwa Abdul Wahid held, we were surprised by the presence of a group of Asayish forces around us and forced us to board the cars without saying why," said the Aisa satellite channel photographer Mohammed Ghulam in an interview with the NUJI".
"We presented our media IDs and work permits to the Asayish but they refused to deal with them. They refused to communicate with anyone, and I could barely communicate with some of the politicians who helped us to get out of detention after more than an hour," he added.
"The camera and its contents were damaged due to the non-positive handling by the Asayish members with them," said Mohammed Ghulam.
"The security forces in Sulaymaniyah province have increased their mistreatment of journalists in the last days of 2017, which is a clear indication that these authorities are targeting media in any crisis that occurs," said Mustafa Saadoun, the head of the observatory unit at the NUJI.
The NUJI demanded the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq not to mistreat media staffs, and to prosecute the members of Asayish who attack media in every time.

Attacks and Impunity
The attacks on journalists in Iraq continued by the security forces, armed groups or tribal persons or groups, while government authorities continued to remain silent in response to these attacks, contributing to the exacerbation of impunity, which can only result in repeated attacks.
• On January 24th, 2017, the crew of NRT Arabiya was seriously assaulted by members of the Iraqi Army's 11th Division while covering the site of a bombing in Nahda.
Wael Al-Shammari, a reporter for the channel, said that a force from the 11th Division assaulted him and his colleagues who were accompanying him to cover the incident. He then transferred his colleague to Al-Kindi hospital for treatment after members of the division confiscated the live broadcasting devise "Stream Box" and their mobile phones."
• On February 2nd, 2017, Metro Center for the Defense of Journalists Rights in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq reported that the crew of the Rudaw channel in Baghdad was attacked by an armed man while performing a press duty.
Bahman Hassan and photographer, Montadar Jaafar, were attacked in Al-Mansour district, west of Baghdad by four unidentified persons. "We were doing our press duty when we have been attacked by four people in civilian clothes and pretended to be members of the National Security Service."
He added that "the people of Al - Mansour area have helped us and rid us of the aggressors, and prevented them from kidnapping us, after they took the memory of our camera."
• On February 11th, 2017, a group of journalists were attacked and prevented by Iraqi security forces during their coverage of demonstrations held in Al-Tahrir Square, the center of Baghdad.
A number of journalists were injured as a result of the attacks and their equipment was destroyed by some members of the security services.
The crew of five-person for Dijla channel was detained for four hours, during which they've been beaten by Iraqi security forces that destroyed the live-broadcast vehicle which was accompanying them.
Saif Walid, a reporter for Dijla satellite channel to the National Syndicate of Journalists in Iraq, spoke about the attack he was subjected to with a group of his colleagues.
"A group of security members had beaten them and detained them for four hours where they were severely beaten by these forces, before they destroying the live broadcasting vehicle belong to the channel," Saif Walid said.
Moreover, "Al-Walaa" satellite channel photographer Abbas al-Karadi was also injured while filming the tear gas spreading at the demonstrators by the security forces.
• On February 28th, 2017, Alsumaria TV announced that its reporter was attacked by a security force during coverage of Prime Minister Haider Abadi's visit to Wasit province.
"A security force had beaten him and confiscated his mobile phone during his coverage of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's visit to Wasit province," said the news agency.
• On 10th March 2017, the reporter of the "Westka" news website was attacked by members of the security forces in the city of Chamchamal when he was covering a protest by a number of the area's citizens.
Harim Abdullah, a reporter for the "Westka" news website, told Metro center that the attack occurred while he was taking photographs of the protest. "Harim said that police arrested him and confiscated all his press tools before he was subjected to an hour-long interrogation exposed to get beaten again through this interrogation. " said Metro in a statement.
• On March 11th, 2017, the coordinator of the Metro Center Iraq Rahman Ghareeb announced that an armed group attacked the house of a journalist in Sulaymaniyah.
Gharib said that "an armed group attacked the house of the journalist Hymen Karim in the Ibrahim Ahmed area in the city of Sulaymaniyah," noting that "the attack did not result in casualties." "According to witnesses, the gunmen were in a white BMW car."
• On March 17th, 2017, the reporter of Kurdistan TV was attacked by the Civil Activities Police in Sulaymaniyah, causing serious injuries that resulted to transfer her to the hospital for intensive care.
"Our reporter was assaulted by members of the Civil Activities Police in Sulaymaniyah during a coverage of a football match in the city," said the director of the channel's office in Sulaymaniyah Hoshyar Siwili to the reporters.
• On 19th April 2017, the staff of the Al-Ahad satellite channel were attacked by Riot police while covering protesting demonstrations in Al-Tahrir Square in the center of Baghdad.
Al-Ahad satellite channel reporter "Alaa Saadoun" and fellow photographer Rafid Jabbar were attacked by members of the Riot police who were in Al-Tahrir Square, where they were severely beaten before being prevented from performing their duties in covering the demonstrations.
Al-Ahad news channel director Rabee Nader told the NUJI that his colleagues were attacked and arrested by the Riot police and taken to an unknown destination before they were released hours after the arrest.
"The staff of Al-Ahad channel was covering protest demonstrations in Al-Tahrir Square and had an official approval and had the authority to film in the square, but we do not know what prompted members of the Riot police to attack them," said Nader. "One of the colleagues was injured in the face as a result of beatings done by the Riot police members."
• On July 11th, 2017, the Metro Center for the Defense of Journalists' Rights condemned the continuation of the series of attacks, abuses and violations against journalists in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, where journalist Ibrahim Abbas was severely beaten by security men.
"The arrests, attacks and insults against journalists and media members reflect a bleak picture of the reality of freedom of expression and greatly harm the reputation of the regional government locally and internationally," said Rahman Gharib, head of the Metro Center for Defending the Rights of Journalists.
"Gunmen attacked and beaten him with wooden and electric sticks in the center of Erbil, wounding him with bruises on the head and causing injuries to different parts of his body," Ibrahim Abbas said.
• On 29th October, 2017 the staff of Al-Ghad Alarabi in the province of Erbil were attacked by a Peshmerga forces. The NUJI said in a press statement that "the attack was an assault and a violation of media that covered the events in Iraq."
Journalists working for Al-Ghad Al-Arabi told the union's observatory unit about the attack against their staff in Erbil province and expressed their displeasure with such actions. The union called on the KRG to prosecuting the aggressors and bring them to justice and not to allow them escaping from punishment.
"The Kurdish Peshmerga forces have tried, through this action, to convey the idea that they intend to control media coverage of the crisis between Baghdad and Erbil," said Mustafa Saadoun, the head of the observatory unit at the National Union of the Journalists in Iraq.
He added that "the attack on the media contributes to restricting its work, and may cause not to transfer the facts in full."
On November 1st, 2017 a group of armed men attacked the media covering the storming into the Parliament of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, which was not enough but they detained 40 journalists for three hours and beaten them.
The reporter of the Turkish Anadolia Agency and the staff of KNN channel and NRT channel were severely beaten by unknown gunmen because their channels stand against the region's referendum held last month.
The headquarters of Radio Ashti of the National Union of Kurdistan in the city of Zakho was attacked by unknown persons. The head of the National Union of Journalists Abdul Moneim Al-A'sem warned of the repercussions of events in the region that may affect the lives and safety of journalists working there, and called on the territorial government to do her duty and provide protection for them.
• On November 19th, 2017 the NUJI called on not to allow any protection for the dismissed Ninava governor Nawfal Al-Aakoub from punishment after beating the journalists in Ninava province.
Information from working colleagues in Ninava province reported that two journalists working for the Mosuliya channel were severely beaten by an armed force work for the dismissed Ninava governor Nawfal Al-Aakoub.
"An armed force work for the dismissed governor, Nawfal Al-Aakoub, beaten the two colleagues while covering the situation in the city of Mosul," colleagues told Al-Mosul TV reporter Salim Al-Masi and the photographer Ali Al-Nuaimi.
A video broadcasted by the Mosuliya channel showed the assault carried out by two civilians wearing civilian clothes before escaping with a military vehicle allegedly belonging to the mobilize-17 for the dismissed governor Nawfal Al-Aakoub.
The NUJI expressed surprise at the unjustified attack against the reporter and the photographer of the Mosuliya channel, and confirmed that these actions are part of the ongoing targeting process of Iraqi journalists.
"The Iraqi authorities should not allow the perpetrators of the abuse against the reporter and the photographer of the Mosuliya channel to be punished," said the official of the monitoring unit of the National Syndicate of Journalists in Iraq Mustafa Saadoun.
"It is an absolute necessity to stop the attacks against journalists, and to stop the disregard of some officials and their guards against the work of journalism and its staff"
On 27th November 2017, unknown gunmen attacked the house of the reporter of the Kurdistan People's Channel in Kifri district, Haidar Ahmed, who said that two gunmen driving a motorcycle opened fire on his house, and hit the front of his car with more than 26 bullets.
Metro Center called on the relevant security authorities to investigate the incident and not to allow the perpetrators of these violations impunity.
• On 28th November 2017, unknown gunmen attacked the Turkman Eli channel Office in Alton Kubri district of Kirkuk, wounding a guard of the office.

Data and attitude of the union
• On August 24th, 2017 the NUJI called on the Iraqi security forces to pay attention to the safety of journalists who covered the battles to liberate Telafar.
The union said that "the press family has lost dozens of journalists since the control of Daesh on Mosul in June 10th, 2014, because of their presence in the places covering the liberation battles in Salah al-Din, Anbar and Ninava."
The union stressed the need from the media institutions that sent journalists to Telafar to be obligated with the professional standards in providing protection for them, not to leave them without shields, helmets and bulletproof, and never risk their lives for some news.
"We hope that the incidents that accompanied the previous media coverage will never be repeated as it caused of injuring and losing dozens of journalists," said Amal Saqer, deputy head of the union", hoping that every journalist would be careful, specially who is available at the conflict areas to mainly think about staying alive."
Saqr added that "the union observed with utmost caution through its observatory unit, the movements of the journalists in the areas of conflict and the possible injuries they may face, but at the same time expressed willingness to communicate with the journalists who were sent there to provide them with occupational health & safety guidance."
• On July 31st, 2017, the NUJI called on the media to avoid the transmission of inaccurate information and news reports, especially those that spread in social networking sites.
The union said in a press statement that "the recent period saw the spread of a large number of news that affected on the Iraqi street and some media transferred from the sites and unreliable accounts in the Facebook and Twitter, which made the Iraqi public preoccupied with them without confirmation, but later all seem to be fabricated".
"There are those who seek to confuse the public opinion with misinformation that could affect the general situation in the country," the union said. "It is imperative for journalists to take the news and reports in order to make sure they are correct."
"The journalists are the filter of the information before they reach the recipient. If they mislead in some information they will mislead everyone. This is a big responsibility for them in the course of their work in the transmission and dissemination of the news.", the union clarified.
"Media plays a key role in the community-based peacemaking process," said Amal Saqer, the deputy head of the NUJI. "Its role is also very important in reducing hate speech and fighting it by conveying accurate information and not allowing inaccurate news to reach recipients."
On November 2nd, 2017 the NUJI called on the Iraqi government not to allow perpetrators of violations against the journalists to impunity. In a statement on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for crimes against journalists, the union stressed the necessity on the government authorities to cooperate in investigating violations of Iraqi journalists.
"The facts and information collected over the past 14 years indicate hundreds of impunities for perpetrators of violations against the journalists," the union said in a statement. "Most of the cases were recorded against unknown persons and while the Iraqi journalists are subjected to serious violations, the perpetrators remain unpunished."
"The Iraqi government had failed to prosecuting the perpetrators of abuses against journalists, and hundreds of perpetrators of abuses against Iraqi journalists over the past decade were able to escape from punishment," said Mustafa Saadoun, head of the observatory unit at the NUJI.
"The Iraqi government should intensify its efforts to prosecute perpetrators of violations against journalists," Saadoun said. "It should not only stop at the prosecution, but seek to hold them go through fair trials."
Iraq ranked the third in the 2017 Global Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Index of Impunity, which highlights countries where journalists are killed and killers remain free at large.
The NUJI continued its pressure on the Iraqi government to urge them to continue to prosecuting the perpetrators of violations, and not to stop at the condemnations, though it remains silent on it significantly.
On November 14th, 2017, the NUJI expressed its concern about the repeated attacks on journalists during the second half of 2017 in the areas of Kurdistan Region of Iraq, in addition to the province of Kirkuk.
The union said that "information received from the Kurdistan region, indicate the escalation of violence against journalists and media institutions, especially in the provinces of Erbil and Zakho, which witnessed attacks on the local media outlets."
The observatory unit of the NUJI documented pictures and videos revealing the extent of attacks on media personnel in the region. A group of people attacked the NRT crew with sticks and light weapons while covering the events in Erbil, which coincided with the referendum of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq .
On December 7th, 2017, the NUJI said that article 226 of the Penal Code No. 111 of 1969 is a loose and threatening the people who expressing their opinion and could be used against everyone.
The union denounced the ruling issued by the Iraqi judiciary against the former head of the Commission of Integrity Judge Rahim Al-Ukaili on the pretext of "insulting" the judiciary, although his article was talking about judicial practices, he deems inappropriate and not commensurate with the judicial work and integrity.
The union expressed surprise at the continuation of work according to a law enacted by a dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein to undermine the freedom of opinion and expression, while we need a constructive criticism aiming to evaluating the institutions of the Iraqi state.
"Unfortunately, the court went to the maximum penalty of Article 226, which is seven years' imprisonment, and this is a serious indicator of the process of continuing relaying on rubber-based legal terms," the NUJI said.
Article 226 of the Iraqi Penal Code No. 111 of 1969 says that "a penalty of up to seven years' imprisonment or fine shall be imposed on anyone who has publicly insulted the National Assembly, the Government, the courts, the armed forces, other statutory bodies, public authorities, Interests, official establishments or semi-official establishments".
"Unfortunately, this article lacks the definition of insult. What we consider it to be moral standards and human rights laws is criticism, it is considered insulting by the authorities," said Mustafa Saadoun, the head of the observatory unit at the NUJI. "Thus, it can judge any critic or commentator according to certain moods."
"A serious flaw of our new system and its institutions, including the judiciary, is that it is still working under Laws enacted by the regime of Saddam Hussein commensurate with his ideology and its dictatorial nature and to implement its arbitrary policies that prohibited any form of free expression of opinion", Adnan Hussein, a board member of the NUJI, said.
The NUJI called on the Iraqi judiciary to review the verdict issued against Judge Rahim Al-Ukaili and not to contribute with the process of undermining the freedom of opinion and expression.

Recommendations:
The NUJI is raising a set of recommendations to the Iraqi government and parliament to express thier confidence in them to work on the recommendations that promote the press freedom in Iraq.
1. Amend the Journalists' Rights Act of 2011.
2. Legislating the right to information law.
3. Amend the draft law on freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration.
4. Not to allow perpetrators of violations against journalists escape from punishment.
5 - Educating the security men on how to deal with media and her staffs, in the field.