Violations of freedom of expression rising in Kurdistan Region: watchdog

File – A man holds a tear gas canister fired by security forces to disperse protesters in Sulaimani. (Esta Media Network)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — More than 200 cases of violations of freedoms of expression and media have been recorded in the Kurdistan Region in 2020, a watchdog said on Sunday.

Peace and Freedom Organization (PFO) said it had registered 207 cases of violations of freedoms of expression and of media in the Region.

“The freedom of expression is worsening day by day in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region,” a PFO representative said during a press conference in Sulaimani.

He further said the organization had formed a team to monitor violations of freedom of expression and media freedom in Iraq and the Region in 2020.

“All the cases were recorded after we obtained enough evidence and data,” he added.

The violations included 79 cases of preventing protests, 64 cases of detention of journalists and activists, 11 cases of attacking journalists, five cases of closing media stations, three cases of closing organization offices, according to the PFO representative.

Nine protesters and members of the security forces were also killed in the recent demonstrations in Sulaimani province, he added.

Hundreds of people protested in Sulaimani and Halabja provinces against delays in payment and lack of services in the Kurdistan Region earlier this month. Angry protesters set fire to headquarters of several political parties and government offices including the directorate of education in Sharazoor and the directorate of Asayish (security) in Takiya.

Violations of freedom of expression has increase in 2020 in compare to 2019, which he said were 83 cases.

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