CPJ condemns sentencing of journalist in Iraqi Kurdistan

CPJ condemns sentencing of journalist in Iraqi Kurdistan, shrinking press freedom
2 min read
23 June, 2021
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the Iraqi Kurdistan authorities' 'unhindered determination to shrink the space in which local journalists and media outlets are able to operate freely'.
Freelance journalist Omed Baroshky was sentenced to a year in prison [Getty]

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Tuesday condemned the sentencing of a journalist in Iraqi Kurdistan to one year in prison, bringing further scrutiny to the regional authorities' treatment of the media.

"With today's sentencing of freelance journalist Omed Baroshky, Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq have again displayed their unhindered determination to shrink the space in which local journalists and media outlets are able to operate freely," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado.

"Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq should immediately release Baroshky, drop the charges against him, and cease harassing the media."

Baroshky was handed the jail sentence on Tuesday for "improper use of his media devices," the CPJ said.

The journalist, from Duhok province, was arrested in August, released, and rearrested in September. After he was released on bail a few weeks after his second arrest, he told local media that he had been tortured by the security forces.

The CPJ and other press freedom organisations have condemned the Iraqi Kurdish authorities for a crackdown that has impacted freelance, independent, and opposition outlet journalists the most.

Amnesty International said in a report released last week that the authorities must stop targeting protesters, activists, and journalists.

The regional government has denied that it is cracking down on press freedom, saying that those detained and charged posed threats to national security or broke coronavirus restrictions during the height of the pandemic.