Journalists beaten at Iraq govt press conference

Iraqi interior minister condemns ‘wayward attitude’ toward media

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Several journalists were beaten on Wednesday during a press conference with senior government officials held at the Al-Nahrain Strategic Studies Center in Baghdad, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Al Arabiya’s correspondent in Baghdad said the journalists were assaulted by the body guards of National Security Advisor Faleh Al Fayad when some of them demanded more time to film the event, which was also attended by Interior Minister Mohammed Ghabban and Iraq's Military Spokesman Saad Maan.

Local television channel Alsumaria said one of its reporters was wounded at the event and taken to hospital.

A photographer also suffered head injuries in the incident, according to Al Arabiya correspondent.

The Union of Iraqi Correspondents issued a statement condemning the assault.

“As we push for the respect of press freedoms, including freedom of expression and access to information…attacks on the fourth estate have returned today to the forefront,” the journalists union said.

“The Union of Iraqi Correspondents strongly condemns such humiliating acts and demands the authorities arrest the perpetrators and open an investigation,” it said.

The interior ministry on its part issued a statement condemning the assault on journalists, which it said reflected the “wayward attitude” that violates legal and ethical rules.

This attitude “harms the security and military forces’ image,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Journalists are the voice of the people and the arm that reports the sacrifices of the security forces,” the interior ministry said.
Protecting journalists is a “chief principle” and is a responsibility of the ministry of interior, the statement concluded.

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