LONDON: The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday condemned the arrest of Iraqi reporter Hamid Majed and urged Iraqi police to release him immediately.
Hamid Majed, a reporter for Al-Ahd TV, was called to the Anbar Crime Directorate in the city of Habbaniyah on Wednesday to discuss an “important topic” over coffee. Once Majed arrived, however, police officers arrested him.
“Luring a journalist to a police station to arrest him is not only shameful practice, but an abuse of police power,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado.
“We call on Iraqi authorities to release Hamid Majed immediately and allow journalists to do their work freely and without fear of retaliation.”
Director of public relations at Al-Ahd TV, Reda Al-Akaili, said that Majed’s arrest is likely related to his reporting on the deteriorating conditions and public services in Anbar province in Iraq.
His reporting “has angered the relevant authorities and officials in Anbar province and prompted them to arrest Majed and prevent him from performing his duties,” Al-Akaili said.
In the 2021 World Press Freedom Index, Iraq ranked 163rd out of 180 countries. Since the 2019 anti-government protests, Iraqi journalists have increasingly been targeted for covering protests, investigating corruption, and reporting the demands of demonstrators.