The accusations related to the existence of cameras placed all over the Sunni Endowment Diwan, including in toilets, to spy on employees, could be true or blatant lie targeting the Diwan management for vested political interests.
The Public Information office of Diwan’s president, Abdul Latif al-Hemyem, said that these accusations are part of a web of conspiracy. In his statement, he said that “yellow press and paid journalists had circulated fabricated news about the president of the Diwan”. He stressed that the news is untrue and is “aimed at tarnishing the reputation of Hemyem so as to influence his increased popularity among Sunnis at the expense of his rival politicians from the Islamic Party.”
On the other hand, Hemyem’s political rivals seemed to be very confident about the news being circulated. The coalition forces MP, Abdul Qahar al-Samarrai, who is one of the Islamic Party leaders, urged Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to dismiss the head of the Sunni Endowment Diwan and investigate him.
In a statement, Samarrai said: “the scandal of using spying devices and cameras without the prior approval of the employees and without their knowledge shows a dangerous moral deviance.”
Al-Samarrai blamed the prime minister for “the consequences of appointing Hemyem in a very important religious institution” as he was the one who insisted on his appointment without the consent of the Sunni faction and its legitimate representative, i.e. the Fiqh Council in Iraq. According to him, this was done without even taking the legal process into consideration.
There is no law guaranteeing the right of journalists and citizens to freely obtain accurate information as is the case in many democratic countries in the worldAdnan Hussein
The political dimension
The political dimension of this issue is clear from the content of both statements. However, no one knows whether these accusations were true or not. There is no law guaranteeing the right of journalists and citizens to freely obtain accurate information as is the case in many democratic countries in the world.
Even if we did have such rights, Iraqis’ access to classified information, as is the case with the spying issue, could be a risky adventure. It is very easy in Iraq to kill a journalist on his way to get information from the source or on his way back to office.
Anyway, regardless of the accuracy or the truth of the matter, the aforesaid allegations and circulating news related to it show how political practices have degenerated in the country. This collapse is linked to the erosion of political class in power and the deterioration of the judiciousness and ethics of political parties seeking to mark their presence through administrative, financial and political corruption.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists. Previously, he has held the position of Managing Editor in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets under the handle @adnanhussein