An independent Spanish journalist said on Monday that there is greater press freedom in the Afghan capital Kabul than in the Iraqi capital, after experiencing first-hand the ongoing restrictions imposed on journalists and their movements in Baghdad.
AKnews reports that on his fifth visit to Iraq, Carlos Zorotoza complained that his camera was confiscated by soldiers in the Iraqi capital and he was obliged to remain “behind fortified walls”, preventing him from effectively conducting his work.
Zorozota, a free-lance journalist from Spain’s Basque region, had his camera confiscated while he was walking in Tahrir Square at the center of Baghdad to take images of public life. The Spanish journalist said that it is extremely difficult to take “even the simplest photograph” of life in Iraq.
“In Kabul, the Afghan capital, there are no red lines as in Baghdad on the usage of the camera,” he said.
Zorozota went on to speak about the particular dangers of reporting on corruption and the death threats that often ensue. This, he said was contradictory to the Iraqi constitution which guarantees the rights of a free media.
“…as a foreign journalist, I can see the caution on the faces of Iraqi reporters going about their work,” he said, “they are surrounded by great danger”.
The media rights organization Reporters Without Borders (RWB), also known as Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), stated in its report last September that since 2003, Iraq has been home to the biggest massacre of journalists since the Second World War.
More Iraqi journalists and their crew members have been killed since 2003, the report states, than the total number of media workers killed in the 20-year Vietnam war or the civil war in Algeria.
In total, 230 journalists have been murdered in Iraq since 2003.