Voice of America (VOA) journalists were beaten and harassed by authorities in Pakistan and Iraq earlier this week.
“I am appalled that these VOA journalists, who were only doing their job of reporting accurate information, were beaten and harassed by security forces,” VOA Director Amanda Bennett said. “Intimidation only generates an opposite effect. VOA will not be deterred in its efforts to seek out and share the truth.”
Zhiyar Muhamad (pictured), a contributing reporter for VOA Kurdish, also was attacked on Thursday while covering a protest outside a mosque in the city of Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan. A uniformed Kurdish Security Forces (KSF) official demanded Muhamad’s camera and cell phone, threatening to beat her if she did not comply.
When she refused, the official punched her in the head, breaking her glasses. Muhamad managed to retain her equipment and continued to cover the protest as the security official eventually was removed by other KSF members.
“The BBG calls on authorities in Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the globe to refrain from carrying out these types of aggressive acts, which are only meant to silence independent journalism and freedom of expression,” BBG CEO and Director John Lansing said.
“Threats to the free practice of journalism are a denial of basic human rights and must not be supported by any government.”
VOA Kurdish reaches its audience on radio, television and the Internet. In addition to shortwave and AM, the service’s programs are broadcast by FM affiliates in several cities in Iraq, including Arbil, Sulaimania, Kirkuk, Mosul, Baghdad and Basra. VOA Kurdish also produces video reports that are streamed on its website.
VOA programs are intended for the more than 30 million Kurds living in the Middle East and Eurasia, and the approximately one million Kurds in Europe andNorth America.
(Source: Voice of America)