Security forces belonging to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has forcibly closed the regional bureau of Kurdistan 24 in northeast of Syria, a statement by Kurdistan 24 Company for Media and Research Ltd said on Sunday.
“This act directly undermines our reporting and the hard work of our journalists, who give a voice to the people of the region. Kurdistan 24 has reported on the situation in Rojava impartially and professionally; hindering our work is in violation of press freedom,” reads the statement.
It further reminded that Kurdistan 24, “as a trusted local institution, has promoted and given visibility to issues of great importance to us and the people of Kurdistan, such as the coverage of the attacks on Afrin, Ras al-Ayn (Serê Kaniyê), and Tel Abyad (Girê Spî).”
Other prominent world organizations relied on the K24’s “reliable” coverage of the conflict in northeast of Syria in order to give accurate reporting to a global audience, the statement noted.
It argued that closing K24’s bureau in Syria “is a blatant violation of media freedom and a worrisome sign of the Rojava authorities’ disregard for press freedom, as well as an attempt to suppress views they oppose.”
“We recognize that Rojava officials—who understand Kurdistan 24’s message of social unity and reconciliation in Rojava—may very well have been pressured by influential groups in the area to shut down our bureau.”
Kurdistan 24 Company for Media and Research Ltd additionally called on human rights organizations, media institutions, and press freedom watchdogs, as well as the International Federation of Journalists, the United Nations, the international community, and the Global Coalition to Defeat Islamic State (IS), to stand against this unjustified and unwarranted act.
It also urged defenders of free speech as well as its allies to “push the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria to reverse their decision.”
IKHRW comment: It is sad to see that the intra-Kurdish tensions have risen to the point of interference with media platforms.
“We recognize that Rojava officials—who understand Kurdistan 24’s message of social unity and reconciliation in Rojava—may very well have been pressured by influential groups in the area to shut down our bureau.” – sentence of the statement pretty much says it all.
‘Rojava’ is being run by local officials and PKK-affiliated decision makers behind the screens. It is not in the interest of local officials to interfere in the PKK’s quarrel with the Kurdistan Region Government, yet they are being forced to do so by their Qandil superiors.
And this of course, is a two-sides-cutting knife. KRG does not have a clean sheet when it comes to press freedom, as well.