NALIA MEDIA CORPORATION CEO AWAT ALI ARRESTED BY SECURITY FORCES IN KURDISTAN REGION
PM:12:33:25/12/2020

SULAIMANI — The security forces in Sulaimani arrested CEO of Nalia Media Corporation Awat Ali on Friday (December 25) after he returned to the Kurdistan Region from Sweden.

Nalia Media Corporation is the parent company of NRT and its affiliated channels.

The arrest comes after numerous serious violations against the channel and its journalists this year. The pace and severity of the incidents have increased in recent months.

After NRT journalists covered protests in Erbil and Duhok, the authorities there closed down NRT’s offices there for two months in September and October and held its Zakho correspondent for more than a week without charge. Those governorates are controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

On December 7, the local security forces, which are affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), raided NRT’s headquarters in Sulaimani and destroyed critical broadcast equipment in retaliation for the coverage of deadly anti-government protests in Sulaimani and Halabja.

Following that raid, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Youth and Culture imposed a two-week broadcast suspension, which expired earlier this week.

On Tuesday, KDP-affiliated Asayish closed the channel’s Erbil office for about 36 hours without providing any written reason.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published a letter to KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday expressing its alarm at the deteriorating state of press freedom in the Kurdistan Region and urging him to intervene to release all imprisoned journalists and "to bring an end to the harassment of broadcaster NRT.”

(NRT Digital Media)