Kurdish security forces arrested a reporter from the independent network Nalia Radio Television (NRT), as he was covering a Turkish drone attack in Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital of Erbil, NRT reported earlier this week.
Reporter Kareem Kaifi and his cameraman were initially stopped by security forces and refused entry to an area where a Turkish drone strike had targeted a group of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters, killing three and wounding two others on 5 September.
The Kurdish internal security forces, known as Asayish, later arrested Kaifi and seized his equipment while he was preparing for a live broadcast approximately two kilometres from the scene of the attack, according to the reporter, who spoke later to the press freedom watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The security forces initially took Kaifi to the Asayish station in Khalifan district, then to the Asayish headquarters in the city of Soran, and held him in solitary confinement for 15 hours.
Kaifi was released only after agreeing to sign a pledge that stated he would not cover such incidents “without Asayish pre-coordination.” According to Kaifi, security forces told him that other journalists complied with such regulations.
Kaifi added that other TV reporters had been broadcasting the incident, but none of them had been arrested or prevented from covering the news.
Iraqi Kurdish security forces frequently arrest reporters and prevent them from covering the news. In the first half of this year, the Asayish in Erbil and Sulaimani committed 70 types of violations against 52 journalists, according to the 6 August report of the Metro Centre, a journalists’ rights advocacy group.