61 Journalists file complaints with Metro Center during Elections
AM:10:59:31/10/2013
21 Cases of Violence and Legal Violations against Journalists throughout Voting Process 

September 25, 2013, Kurdistan Region: Metro Center for Defending Journalists’ Rights announces that cases of violence against journalists have increased, calling upon the Kurdistan Regional Government to investigate into those violations, particularly those violations been  committed by the security forces. 

Metro Center, in a statement published on the last day of the election campaign, said since the beginning of the election campaign, launched on August 28, 2013 and ended on September 19, dozens of various violations been committed against (40) journalists by followers of competing lists and security forces, while some other violations committed outside the election campaign. 

The Center announces that during both special voting and general voting days of the Kurdistan Parliament elections on September 19-21, 2013, (21) journalists and media staff contacted the Registration Section of Violations at Metro Center and filed complaints. Over all, the total number of violations against journalists during the election process of the Kurdistan Region reached (61) cases. 

The Press Law insists, "anyone who insults or injures a journalist as a result of the performance of his work shall be punished with the punishments decided for those who injure government employees during regular working hours or as a result of the performance of his work.”In this election, forces in uniform attacked journalists. Government and party institutions and bodyguards of officials also committed violations against journalists, but no one has been held responsible in front of the law, despite filing complaints against them.
 
Metro Center for Defending Journalists’ Rights claims that those violations been committed against journalists and media staff in the cities of Kurdistan Region are violations of the articles of the Press Law and some of them can be counted as crimes.  

"Incidents of violence against journalists during the election campaign and on the general election day are not accepted under any excuse and we condemn them.”Metro Center urges the Kurdistan Regional Government to investigate into those violations, particularly some of them committed by the security forces.  
Here are the cases been registered with Metro during both days of special voting and general election:
 
Jalal Majeed Farhad, Rudaw TV Channel reporter told Metro that on September 19, and during the special voting for Kurdistan Parliament, me and my colleagues Rebwar Hamid, Soran Hussein, Kossar Usman, who are cameramen of our channel along with Salim Tofiq, a technician were covering special voting at a polling station alive. A SWAT force attacked our team. According to him, "members of the force swore on them, and attacked them with cables and took their cameras, justifying that we have previously produced a program and used their pictures.”

Hevi Khalid, a reporter of Regay Kurdistan Newspaper told Metro that on September 21, the general election day of Kurdistan Parliament, we as journalists were forced to go out from the Piramerd Polling Station in the city of Sulaimaniyah, although the station was already decided to be opened for journalists. Hevi said, "the station was allocated for journalists, but Karwan Sabir, correspondent of Esta TV, Hawre Khalil, Cameraman, Gona Omer, reporter of Hawlati Newspaperand I were dismissed and they said it was forbidden.”

Ranja Jamal, a reporter of Rudaw TV Channel said that he was attacked by a security force in the town of Koya, on September 21, the general election day of Kurdistan Parliament.  "During filming, our driver and I were attacked by the security, we were taken to one of their offices and were beaten a lot. They also confiscated my journalistic equipment and mobile phone,”Jamal said. 

Abdullah Taha Yassin, a reporter of (Waar Channel) in the city of Duhok told Metro that on September 21, the general election day of Kurdistan Parliament, in the Qasrok Sub-district in the Duhok province, Rozhan Azhar, our cameraman and I were prevented from working in front of a polling station, allocated for journalists. Yassin said,”we don’t know the reason behind preventing us, but they said you aren’t allowed to film.”

Darya Kamaran Ali, a correspondent of Kirkuk Satellite Channel told Metro that on September 21, the general election day of Kurdistan Parliament in the Kasnazan Sub-district in the province of Erbil, followers of a list attacked the team of our channel and broke their camera in front of Bawar polling station.  Darya said,”they threw stones at us, attacked us and our cameraman was hurt a lot.”The cameraman of the channel told Metro,” I could escape from their hands, but the cameraman of Gali Kurdistan Channel Sarhang Ahmed was hurt.”  Ahmed informed Metro that "they attacked us with stones and bricks and broke my camera.” 

Muhammed Khidir Saleem, a KNN correspondent, told Metro on September 21, the general election day of Kurdistan Parliament in the village of Kani Maran, Hajiawa Sub-district, in the town of Ranya, a Peshmarga force prevented them from covering the news and confiscated their camera. Saleem told Metro,”the bodyguards of a major-general attacked us and confiscated our camera.” Majeed Khidir, the cameraman of the channel told Metro,” (20) Peshmargas attacked us, took my camera, deleted the videos.”

Zana Ali, a correspondent of Gorran Radio in Saidsadiq District, province of Sulaimaniyah, told Metro, on September 21, the general election day of Kurdistan Parliament, supporters of an electoral list attacked him in front of the polling station of Med School in Saraw Neighborhood. Ali said, "some supporters of a certain list attacked me and punched me, some supporters of Gorran Movement (Change) witnessed the incident.”

Hoshmand Sadiq Ramazan, a correspondent of KNN told Metro, on September 19, the special voting day of Kurdistan Parliament, a force attacked us outside the Ministry of Peshmarga and confiscated the cassette of the camera of the cameraman. Hawkar Ali, a cameraman of the channel told Metro, "there was a gathering in front of the ministry, the force attacked us and wanted to take my camera, but later took the cassette and broke it in front of me.”

Salam Rauf Faraj, a correspondent of Gali Kurdistan Channel told Metro Center that on September 21, the general election day of Kurdistan Parliament, he and Karwan Anwar, a cameraman of the channel were prevented from work in front of Azadi polling station in the town of Darbandikhan. Faraj said,”as soon as they realized that we film, the head of the polling station came toward us and the policemen interfered unless the head would attack us.”