Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kurdish journalists complain of harassment

                Press freedoms and the freedom of speech are being questioned in Iraqi Kurdistan after several journalists and intellectuals have been the victims of unwarranted arrests and detentions. Outdated laws are a big part of the blame, since many have argued that they are still enforcing laws set in place 80 years ago, during the rule of Saddam.
                Arrests and attacks against journalists have been widely reported in the region, and little to no help has been provided to ensure the Kurdish Journalists are able to properly express those views.
Independent Kurdish media is particularly vulnerable, and many of the journalists have maintained that the government authorities are partly responsible for many of the challenges they face.

Reporters Without Borders is concerned over the harassing of Kurdish reporters in Turkey

Reporters Without Borders condemned the attacks on a DIHA reporter, Pinar Ural, in Istanbul and is pleased about the release of another DIHA reporter Ismail Eskin, after a five month detention before trial.
Eskin was accused of involvement with the PKK, which is considered to be an illegal terrorist organization by the Turkish government as well as the United States government. There have been accusations about journalists and activists in Turkey being attacked because of a suspicion of involvement with terrorist organizations, and more journalists are being linked to this group, and therefore attacked and detained as a result.
The countries only Kurdish language daily paper, Azadiya Welat, is another concern for Reporters without borders, as its editor Mehdi Tanrikulu has been freed from prison, but still faces charges from making what the authorities claim are overly positive remarks about the PKK.
There are still several other Kurdish language journalists who are imprisoned for a supposed connection to the PKK, and many more face the threat of having leagal actions taken against them for what they may express in their publications or reports.

Freedomhouse.org---- free speech ranking in Iraq

Nondiscrimination and Access to Justice: 2.7
Autonomy, Security, and Freedom of the Person: 2.6
Economic Rights and Equal Opportunity: 2.8
Political Rights and Civic Voice: 2.2
Social and Cultural Rights: 2.1
(Scale of 1 to 5: 1 represents the lowest and 5 the highest level of freedom women have to exercise their rights)

The majority of the Kurds live in Iraq and Northern Iraq is the proposed territory for the nation of Kurdistan, if it is realized. The Kurdish people have been kept under an oppressive rule for quite some time, yet are now working on ways to form their own government and create a functioning democratic nation for themselves.
Amy Kurdish journalists still live and work in other countries, from Iran, Turkey, to Denmark and everywhere else you can imagine---- yet the idea of an independent Kurdish nation in Northern Iraq is still a dream for many Kurdish people.
Within Iraq as well as with many other countries, the Kurdish rights to free speech is attacked, from Turkey limiting some Kurdish networks or publications as being a front for a supposed terrorist group like the PKK, or in Iran where a journalist or intellectual could be imprisoned or killed for saying anything critical of the government or its policies.
In Iraq, there have been threats of violence and violent attacks on journalists to limit what they can and cannot cover, and in many cases the governing body which is supposed ot represent the Kurdish people and their interests has been the biggest challenge in the Kurdish rights to freedom of speech and their rights to a free press.

Kurdish democracy?????

In a speech delivered to the Italian parliament on May 21st, some Kurdish spokesmen voiced their hopes for a thriving Kurdish Democracy to be formed after all they had endured.
The Kurds have been oppressed and terrorized for generations, and in many countries all over the world. With constant struggle and threats of violence, it can be very difficult for a democratic nation to be formed. The Kurdish people have taken strides to becoming more independent, yet those attempts have been thwarted by arrests and other forms of extreme actions.
Kurdish leaders have been arrested in Turkey and many have been massacred under the rule of Saddam in Iraq in the early 90’s. 
The Kurdish people came together to establish a parliament formed when they took control of a section of Northern Iraq in 1991, and have tried to become a self governing independent nation, one that could potentially live in peace with the neighboring regions.
The speakers stressed that little help was given to the Kurdish people in helping them form their own nation, but has an opportunity to play an active role by keeping an eye on the situation and using their moral judgment on the situation. The west should recognize that its most important role would be to be critical of the developing nation’s leaders and encourage them to be truly democratic.

Internet censorship and problems with electronic media

In addition to the lawsuits and governmental pressures that limit the freedoms of Kurdish journalists, the Culture Ministry has drafted a law that---if passed--- would censor the internet by limiting certain websites from being accessed. Many argue that the wording of the bill is too broad, and that if passed by the permanent would limit the people’s right to information.
Kurdish media networks and publications have been attacked repeatedly for controversial positions or views that are unfavorable to the government. Many feel that this new law will be another way for the government to limit the rights of journalists and the people’s right to freedom of information.

Kurdish press freedoms have changed

According to Reporters without Borders, many of the violent attacks against Kurdish media networks in Iraq have been replaced with lawsuits and government pressures. Political figures have blocked journalists from accessing certain places, or challenged the legality of what was written in the newspapers as a form of “defamation”.
                Many publications have been sued, and some journalists have received death threats and other forms of deterrents to prevent them from conducting their work. Even media that tend to be favorable to the government are challenged in the court room. 
These threats in general have prevented journalists from conducting their work and causing journalists to spend time fighting lawsuits rather than conducting their work.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The pros and cons of the internet and computer technology for global media

The Kurdish media is still being attacked by both government and non-government opposition, and the Kurds right to free speech is being threatened as a result. Anytime someone’s access to technology is enhanced, it can improve their ability to voice their opinion and express their views openly and without censorship.
Many radio and television stations, as well as newspaper and magazine companies have been attacked by violence or by lawsuits; and with the use of internet and other electronic mediums, the average person can be able to distribute their information and educate the public about the events in the world.
Dr. Rashid Karadaghi wrote an article discussing the importance that media can play in the government and how it can be manipulated by those who have an alternative agenda and who wish to influence a specific point of view.
Just as the internet and other technologies can help give a voice to the common man, it can also be limited by governments who wish to silence that voice (as is happening in countries like Iran) and used as yet another medium by which to push the government’s views even further on the people.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Are frivolous lawsuits limiting the Kurdish free-press?

Various political parties have been filing lawsuits against Kurdish journalists in an attempt to intimidate them and keep them preoccupied with fraudulent charges rather than conduct their work as they should. Livin magazine’s editor in chief, Ahmed Mera, said they have had more than 27 lawsuits filed against them.
Kamal Rauf who is the editor in chief of another Kurdish publication known as, Hawlati newspaper, said they have had nine lawsuits against their newspaper. Rauf believes that the purpose of these lawsuits is to intimidate their journalists and to keep them from conducting their work for an independent media. Some of these lawsuits are filed by political figures like the Kurdistan president, Massud Barzani and his Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP). The KDP’s lawsuit against the Livin magazine arouse from an article about Barzani’s salary.
Some publications have also claimed that criticism of Barzani would lead to frivolous lawsuits; however the KDP has claimed that the lawsuits were a way for the party to defend itself. Ari Harseen, who worked for the KDP’s media office denied the allegations that criticism of Barzani and his family would lead to the lawsuits, and that they believe in coexisting with the free media.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

benefits vs. harms of the Kurdish media

An article by Dr. Rashid Karadghi discusses the possible positive and negative attributes to a Kurdish mass media on a Kurdish media website. In the article, Dr. Karadghi writes:
“In the hands of fair-minded people, the media can play a constructive role in society, for it can enlighten the public and act as watchdog over all governmental operations. Conversely, it can play a divisive and destructive role if it is in the hands of partisan people whose only concern is the interest of their political party, not that of the people as a whole.”
He challenges the fairness that the current stations that are being used to represent the Kurdish issues have in representing their interests. Karadghi claims that the opposition’s points of views aren’t being represented, and mentions that the media is a “monologue” of one opinion overpowering the media and says that the media should represent the interests of the entire Kurdish people and not a political party.
Karadghi says that a medium that discusses the Kurdish views are harmful to the political process because the average person won’t be able to hear all points of views. In effect these methods of coverage should serve the interests of the Kurdish people, and not a political party, yet Kardghi claims that the current media is not doing its job appropriately.   

Reporters without Borders condemns the attacks on Journalists in Iraq

Reporters without Borders has condemned the attacks and arrest of journalists in parts of Iraq and urged the government to take proper measures to ensure the safety of the journalists working there.
One Journalist, Farouq Rafiq and his wife were arrested and convicted for a defamation charges and forced to paying fines or risk imprisonment. And journalists were attacked and arrested while covering demonstrations in Kalar, Sulaymaniyah, and Erbil.
According to the press freedom organization, security forces are systematically hunting journalists down and bringing them to trial.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Journalists under attack in Northern Iraq

Media conglomeration hasn’t really been affecting Iraq or the Kurdish people much, but there are several independent media station in Iraq and other parts of the world that voice the opinions of the Kurdish people and many of them have been under attack. Recently radio Dang an independent radio station in Kalar was attacked (according to Kurdishmedia.com) and Nalia satellite television station was burned down after only 3 days of broadcasting. The first independent television station in northern Iraq, NRT Television in Sulaimaniya, was also destroyed by 50 masked gunmen who raided the building according to CNN and Kurdishmedia.com.
Reporters without borders sent a letter to the president of the Kurdistan regional government, Massoud Barzani, mentioning the recent attacks on media stations in Kurdish Iraq and mentioned that many of the Journalists received death threats. Reporters without Borders requested investigations into the attacks and asked that he do anything in his power to ensure the safety of the journalists in the region.
Reporters without Borders began the letter by mentioning that Iraqi Kurdistan had more press freedoms than most of the surrounding regions, but that the recent attacks and threats to the lives of the Journalists posed a threat to the media.

My Blog: Roj TV; (Denmark)

My Blog: Roj TV; (Denmark): "According to the Kurdishmedia.com; http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=16620Roj TV is a Kurdish language television station Headquarter..."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Roj TV; (Denmark)

According to the Kurdishmedia.com; http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=16620
Roj TV is a Kurdish language television station Headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark. US and Turkish officials try to get the station closed, because it is said to be funded by the PKK (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan or Kurdish Workers Party) which is viewed as a terrorist organization by the United States and Turkey. Denmark has not complied in until 2009 when a Danish prim-minister made a deal with Turkey to have to station closed to gain the support of the Turkish government.
 The stations managing director, Imdat Yilmaz said the main purpose of the station was to promote the Kurdish culture and language. He also said that the station wasn’t based in Turkey because of the suppression of the Kurdish minority in Turkey.
Roj TV has also been nominated for a Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and is seen as a positive way to help solve the problems between the Kurds and the Turks by some human rights activists.

My Blog: Intro to Kurdistan Blog

My Blog: Intro to Kurdistan Blog: "The KurdsThe Kurdish people span across several nations in the Middle East. They are said to be the largest ethnic group without a nation of..."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Intro to Kurdistan Blog

The Kurds
The Kurdish people span across several nations in the Middle
East. They are said to be the largest ethnic group without a nation of their
own (at about 25 million), so it wouldn’t be possible to list just one method
in which the Kurdish people gather their information.
The majority of the Kurds live in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and
Syria; however, Northern Iraq is the proposed spot for the nation of
‘Kurdistan’, so for my analysis I will focus mostly on Iraq and some of the
other nations which are known to have large Kurdish populations.