ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Director-General of UNESCO on Friday called for an official investigation into the murder of a Kurdish cameraman in Kirkuk late last month.
Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, urged authorities in Iraq to open an inquiry into the horrific killing of Kurdistan TV cameraman Arkan Sharifi.
“I condemn the murder of Arkan Sharifi,” Bokova said in an official statement.
“In the interest of defending both freedom of expression and freedom of information, I urge the authorities to investigate this crime and take all legal steps available to end violence against the media,” she added.
On Oct. 30, Sharifi was stabbed to death after armed men broke into his home in the city of Daquq, in the governorate of Kirkuk, murdering him in front of his family.
In the aftermath of Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia’s assault on Kirkuk and other disputed territories, Kurdish media, including Kurdistan 24, has been banned and targeted for its coverage of developments.
Last month, the Communications and Media Commission (CMC), the Iraqi media regulator, ordered both Kurdistan 24 and Rudaw to be shut down, citing a “lack of proper licenses.”
Following the CMC’s order, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) critıcized the recent violations and attacks against the Kurdish media in Iraq, including the killing of Sharifi.
IFJ General-Secretary Anthony Bellanger stated Iraq needed “an independent and professional regulatory body…to support broadcasters in navigating through the country’s thorny politics.”