As World Press Freedom Day has passed this Thursday on May 3rd, a Kurdish based advocacy organization known as Metro Center is asking the authorities and courts of Kurdistan to, “review the cases of assassinated journalists.” In a public statement they claimed, “Metro Center calls on the Kurdistan Regional Government to work to pave the way to a suitable environment for journalism freedom so that media can play its role in the process of social change.” The group expressed the desire for “justice and independency of courts” in regards to journalists killed and punishment for the guilty parties.
Multiple Kurdish journalists have been killed on account of their profession in recent years. Kawa Garmeyani, Sardasht Osman, Soran Mama Hama, and Wedat Hussein, to name a few high-profile cases, were all killed for their reporting. Osman was found in Mosul, dead, 2 days after being abducted from Erbil at the College of Arts in May of 2010. Garmeyani was killed outside his house in 2013 by unknown gunmen. Hussein was kidnapped and killed near Duhok in August of 2016 — he had been tortured and according to his family he had written for a PKK affiliated website. Hama was killed in Kirkuk when two men approached him on a street corner in 2008. Every one of them had previously published critical allegations of corruption in an official political level regarding Kurdistan authorities.
Metro Center also released an annual report citing a total of 139 “violations” against journalists in Iraqi-Kurdistan, and these “violations” happened against 74 journalists in just 2018 alone. They categorized these actions as: