Metro centre condemns Barzani's KDP
lawsuit against Kurdish press
September 3, 2010
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The IWPR’s Metro Centre
for the defense of journalists’ rights released a
statement of protest against the Kurdistan
Democratic Party (KDP)'s immense compensation claims
for slander filed against three Kurdish periodicals.
A leader in the party insisted that the claims are
in accordance with the scope of the defamation the
party suffered from the articles printed by the
The protest statement issued on Thursday stated that
the claims by KDP politburo secretary against the
three Kurdish publications Hawlati, Rozhnama, and
Awena are in breach of Kurdistan’s journalistic
In its 214 issue on March 9, 2010, the daily
newspaper Awena published two articles under the
titles " Goran, Kurdistan Islamic Group, and
Kurdistan Islamic Union:
In Erbil the elections
were not spared from frauds", and "President, you
In response to the daily’s alleged slander, the KDP
politburo's secretary, Fadhil Mirani brought a claim
against the daily's chief editor Shuwan Mohammed on
Thursday and requested him reimburse the lawyers
fees as well as paying $ 425 thousand in damages as
Recently Mirani filed two other cases against the
Hawlati and Rozhanama periodicals, demanding of the
former $425 thousand and of the latter $1 billion. A
verdict hasn’t been reached in either case so far.
The Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ calls on KDP led by Massoud
Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional
Government, to drop a defamation complaint against
the Kurdish opposition weekly, Rozhnama.
The statement further described the claims as
"invalid and a clear abuse of the principles and law
of journalism" because the KDP has filed the claims
after the lapse of the three month time limit for
raising a lawsuit against a journalist.
Responding to the statement, Mohammed Mala Qadir, a
member of KDP's politburo pointed the finger at the
periodicals, saying "they bother us a lot,www.ekurd.neteven
though the KDP is too strong to shake as a result of
their baseless allegations."
"Our claims are legal and it is ordinary for the
ones who feel their rights have been violated to
seek trial against the offenders," Mala stated "we
believe we have adopted the right approach."
Commenting on the sum of the compensation asked by
KDP's politburo secretary, Qadir said "the figures
are in accordance with the trouble they caused us,
if they decrease their nuisance, we also will
decrease the amount."
Representing the Baghdad-based Journalistic Freedom
Observatory (JFO) foundation, the Metro Centre was
founded in Aug. 2009 in Kurdistan. It is an
independent organization for defending the rights of
Speaking to AKnews, Rahman Qharib, the coordinator
of the centre described the complaints by the KDP
politburo as "an attempt by those in authority to
limit the freedom of speech".
The KDP is one of the two dominating parties in the
Kurdistan Region, deeply rooted since Aug. 16, 1946.
The IWPR’s Metro Centre was launched in August 2008, the centre has
campaigned on media rights issues; documented scores
of attacks on journalists; assisted those who have
been detained; and issued dozens of statements that
are widely cited in the local press.
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