South Kurdistan: Media in a State of Emergency - By Mufid Abdulla

Since the emergence of a new model of opposition in the south of Kurdistan through Kurdish newspapers and journalism, the KRG is showing increasing anger and distress towards the local media which are not in the control of the state and which are becoming increasingly bigger, whilst at the same time, the population of opposition is growing in size.

The KRG cannot handle the press smoothly and cannot meet them with respect, contrarily either they try to buy them, attack them or jail them. To me the press in the south of Kurdistan have started a new model of revolution.

Yesterday the local security police in Hawler attacked the local newspaper Hawdam and entered their premises on the pretext that they were inspecting the premises. The Hawdam weekly newspaper has recently published several articles on oil smuggling and the case of the two murdered journalists Sardasht Osman and Soran Mama Hama.

At the same time the KDP Politiburo’s Fazil Mirani, has threatened to take local Kurdish newspaper Rojnama to court with the prospect of the newspaper being sued for one billion dollars because they have published evidence on smuggling oil profits for the two ruling parties. The KDP and their sister party the PUK are upset about the local media because they see them as preparing the mechanics for political change, while the political culture is still stagnated.

But what do Kurdish young journalists actually do, or aim to achieve with the new media? I believe most of them are credible tools for challenging established political orders and bringing about political change in our region. Even though some of them just want to relieve the stress rather than trying for political change. The most important point is that they are standing strong despite the constant attempts of attack by the local government in Kurdistan.

If we consider media agencies around the world we can see such acts occurring on a global scale, although the extent of this varies greatly. For example in the UK, the BBC, one of the major global news broadcasting agencies has been criticised for its American / Western one-sided portrayal of many news issues such as the Israel-Palestine conflict. The British press are well-known for favouring one political party over another and again this gives a very biased portrayal of the news. The sad thing is that in Kurdistan what we have seen on numerous occasions are acts of violence towards innocent journalists which have led to numerous unjust and horrific deaths.


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August 5, 2010
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