Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan RSF_en News Organisation Help by sharing this information December 16, 2020 Find out more News February 15, 2021 Find out more News IraqMiddle East – North Africa Condemning abuses Violence Receive email alerts Follow the news on Iraq News Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” to go further RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” December 28, 2020 Find out more IraqMiddle East – North Africa Condemning abuses Violence The latest victim was Mohammed Thabet Shahaza, a radio journalist also known as Mohamed Al-Obeidi, who was gunned down as he was leaving his workplace with a colleague in Kirkuk, 270 km north of Baghdad. He was the manager of Baba Gurgur, a local radio station supported by the state-owned Iraqi Media Network.An Iraqi Media Network representative told the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) that Shahaza was killed on the spot by two men who fired at him from a car. According to RSF’s sources, he had been investigating the decline in the political and security situation in Kirkuk province.“The heavy toll of journalists killed or murdered in Iraq is clearly linked to the prevailing impunity for crimes of violence against media personnel,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk.“We deplore the vagueness of local and national authorities about the murders of some journalists and we urge them to carry out impartial investigations with the aim of bringing those responsible for their deaths to justice. The impunity is to blame for the climate of terror and danger for local journalists.”Shukri Zaynadin, a cameraman with KNN (a TV news channel affiliated to the Iraqi Kurdish opposition party Goran), was found dead on 1 December in a deserted village near Amedi, a hill town in Dohuk province, 90 km north of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.The circumstances of his death are unclear, with the media giving contradictory accounts. Most of the local media initially reported that he was shot dead after being kidnapped four days earlier. But the Dohuk police subsequently maintained that he was attacked by a wild animal while hunting with a friend. The journalist’s family, however, is not convinced by this version of events, emphasizing the numerous threats he had received.Abdel Razaq Sharif, who is KNN’s director general and the Goran party’s media spokesman, told RSF on 2 December that Zaynadin had not been in contact with KNN’s Dohuk bureau during the four days prior to the discovery of his body.Zaynadin told KNN a month before his death that he had received threats from unidentified individuals, Sharif said, adding that it is unfortunately common for journalists and civil society representatives to receive threats in Iraqi Kurdistan.At least three other journalists were murdered this year. Wedat Hussein Ali, a 28-year-old Iraqi Kurdish journalist working for RojNews, a news agency that supports Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), was tortured and murdered after being abducted in Dohuk, the capital of Dohuk province, on 13 August.In a report on its investigation into Ali’s murder issued in late November, the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament’s human rights committee claimed that it was organized by the security forces and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of Iraqi Kurdistan’s two main ruling parties.Moreover, two Iraqi journalists employed by Al-Sharqiya News, a privately-owned TV channel, were gunned down in Diyala, a province northeast of Baghdad, in January.Ranked 158th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index, Iraq is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists. December 8, 2016 Two Iraqi journalists killed in past few days Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the dangerous climate for media personnel in Iraq, and urges the authorities to do everything possible to protect them and to end the impunity for crimes of violence against them. Two journalists have been killed in Iraq this month, bringing the number of journalists killed this year to nine.
The £20million is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research and by UK Research and Innovation. This follows the government’s funding of £30million to the National Institute for Health Research for research into COVID-19 and £10million to increase Public Health England’s capacity to test people and monitor the virus. Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “The world faces an unprecedented challenge in our efforts to tackle the spread of COVID-19 and it is vital we harness our research capabilities to the fullest extent to limit the outbreak and protect life. Alongside the world-leading research overseen by the NIHR, these new 6 projects will allow us to boost our existing knowledge and test new and innovative ways to understand and treat the disease.” Dr Sandy Douglas’ research term, aiming to develop processesto manufacture vaccines at a million dose scale, will receive £0.4million. Thismeans, if clinical trials of a vaccine are successful, the vaccine can reachhigh-risk groups as quickly as possible. Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said: “The UK is home to incredible scientists and researchers who are all at the forefront of their field, and all united in their aim; protecting people’s lives from coronavirus. The announcement made today reflects the vital work being undertaken by our scientists to help develop vaccines and treatments. This research could herald important breakthroughs that will put the NHS in a stronger position to respond to the outbreak.” Prof Peter Horby’s research team, testing whether existingor new drugs can help patients hospitalised with confirmed COVID-19, willreceive £2.1million. The team aims to have data available to inform patient treatmentin 3 months. The trial will first test two HIV drugs. The three projects include work to develop an effective vaccine, to manufacture a vaccine at a million-dose scale, and to test drugs which may help treat confirmed COVID-19 patients. Image: Ellie Wilkins Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Whether testing new drugs or examining how to repurpose existing ones, UK scientists and researchers have been working tirelessly on the development of treatments for coronavirus. The projects we are funding today will be vital in our work to support our valuable NHS and protect people’s lives.” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “In the midst of a global health emergency the UK is using all its extensive research expertise to quickly develop new vaccines to target this international threat. This investment will speed up globally-recognised vaccine development capabilities and help us find a new defence against this disease.” An Edinburgh University project receiving £4.9million infunding will collect samples and data from COVID-19 patients to help control theoutbreak and provide treatment. An Imperial College London team aims to developantibodies to target the novel coronavirus, which may help to find a potential therapy.A Queens University Belfast project will test drugs on cells to investigate howtoxic effects of coronavirus can be reduced. Three University of Oxford research projects will receive shares of a £20million government investment to combat coronavirus. Six UK projects will benefit from this research funding, announced by Business Secretary Alok Sharma on Monday. A research team led by Prof Sarah Gilbert, developing a new vaccine to protect against COVID-19, will receive £2.2million. The funding will support pre-clinical testing of the new vaccine, new manufacturing, and clinical trials in humans. The team have developed a vaccine, made from an adenovirus, and is planning to begin testing on adults aged 18-50 next month.