Reporters Without Borders wrote to the Iraqi authorities yesterday urging them to ensure respect for the rights of journalists, including their right to cover the major demonstrations that are due to be held throughout Iraq this Friday, 10 June.
Read the Reporters Without Borders letter :
Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki
Government of Iraq Baghdad
Paris, 6 June 2011
Dear Prime Minister,
The international press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders has learned that major demonstrations are to be held throughout Iraq on 10 June to demand better public services (such as electricity and water), respect for basic rights and freedoms, the release of political prisoners and a crackdown on corruption.
In view of the recent attacks on journalists, our organization would like to point out that the media have the right to observe, film and photograph demonstrators and security forces. The authorities must facilitate the work of journalists or at least not obstruct them in any way. Confiscating their equipment, arresting them or detaining them for short periods, or any use of physical violence against them must be prohibited.
Any action by the security forces that prevents journalists from doing their job is an unacceptable violation of freedom of expression.
Press freedom is an essential component of the democratic process to which Iraq is committed. We will be watching closely to see whether the public’s right to information is respected.
We trust you will give this matter your careful consideration.
Jean-François Julliard Reporters Without Borders secretary-general